Rojava: the fraud of a non-existent social revolution

Cult of personality - portrait of Öcalan
Cult of personality - portrait of Öcalan

Text from Mouvement Communiste and Kolektivně proti Kapitălu in response to recent myths propagated about the Rojava "revolution", with a detailed background about inter-imperial rivalries, the so-called "Kurdish question", national questions in general... To many leftists and anarchists, Rojava is a paradise on earth. We say: down with paradise!

Submitted by Dan Radnika on June 27, 2017

Rojava: the fraud of a non-existent social revolution masks a Kurdish nationalism perfectly compatible with Assad’s murderous regime

Rojava and the national question

While an abundant literature exists on Rojava1 , none of its eulogies concern themselves with the class composition of the region, nor with any precise characterisation of its economic development2 . It’s an indirect way of hiding something essential: in Rojava, no revolutionary transformation of social relations is in movement and the subordinated classes, proletarians and poor peasants, remain as deprived as ever of the leading role which they would need to take if the social revolution was underway there.

What is at stake in the recent events in Rojava is the administrative autonomy of this majority Kurd region in Syria. While a minority in the country, the Syrian Kurds are markedly more numerous in Rojava than Arabs, Assyrians and Turkmens, who also live in these lands. If Sunni Islam is the majority religion in Rojava, there are also Christian and Yazidi religious minorities. Kurdish domination in Rojava, on the edge of the violent dissolution of the Syrian state, is hidden behind a thick ideological smokescreen from the good consciences of Western lefties. The new dominant classes of this area under the control of the nationalists of the PKK (Partiya Karkerên Kurdistan, Party of Workers of Kurdistan) from Turkey casually intone the siren songs of ecology, feminism and participatory direct democracy. It’s a music relayed and amplified by all kinds of leftists and by the subsidiaries, established in developed countries, of the cult of adoration of Öcalan, the founder of the PKK imprisoned for more than fifteen years on the island of Imrali.

The oppression which the Kurds have been subjected to by the Assad dynasty is real enough. Since 19623 between 120 and 300,000 Kurds have been classified as ajaneb (foreigners) and around 75,000 classed as maktoomeen (unregistered). The agricultural production of Kurdish farmers was restricted and they were subjected to restrictions on their access to ownership of farmland (Decree 49 from 1984), and a law from 2008 made it even more difficult for Kurds to acquire property. Revolts starting in 2004, as in Qamishli, harshly repressed by Bashar al-Assad4 , testify to this reality, as does the execution in October 2011 of the liberal Mashaal Tammo, one of the founders of the Syrian National Council (SNC)5 , the principal coalition at the time of the democratic bourgeois opposition in Syria.

Marginalised, discriminated against, repressed, the Syrian Kurds have excellent reasons for revolting against the Assad autocracy. But nationalism is the worst weapon for freeing themselves from “national” oppression. In the case of Rojava, taking account of the weakness of the productive structure and the restricted character of this region, nationalism has even less capacity than elsewhere to offer a solution to the problems of these populations.

In itself it becomes a weapon against them because it artificially separates them from the general fight against the despotic regimes in the region and blocks their route towards class struggle, the only viable way to eliminate exploitation and all oppressions, including those on a national basis.
The “national community”, like any other fictive community (including so-called religious ones), unlike the proletarian community of struggle against capital, is founded on a fundamental mystification, on the obscuring of social relations, on the denial (or relativisation) of the existence of classes with antagonistic interests. Every nation is a product of a society divided into classes, rooted in myths aiming at establishing a unity between exploiters and exploited, between dominant and dominated classes.

That is the reason why communists fight against every state, against every dominant nation and also against any attempt to constitute new “national communities” in the interstices of existing nations. It is the very essence of proletarian internationalism, because the proletariat has no nation, it is “foreign” everywhere, to the displeasure of nationalists, and therefore has no national interest to defend.

It is another thing, however, to fight with class means against oppressions engendered by the dominant classes. The question of national oppression (like any other oppression of the social individual) is not a matter of indifference for communists. But there can’t be a response to it which is strictly within the framework that gives rise to it. Opposing an oppressed nation to a dominant nation only serves to create new oppressions, at best to replace those of the past with new national dominations, new dominations which in addition are not necessarily more acceptable or “open” – as the results of the recent “Arab Spring” or even the national liberation movements of the past have amply demonstrated.

Communists have no desire to draw new borders because they fight against all borders. They have nothing to do with the upgrading of states and the redefinition frontiers. If a separation takes place – like that between Czechia and Slovakia – without unleashing a war within the population, revolutionaries put proletarian internationalism to work and fight to guard class links across old and new borders.

When the redefinition of the boundaries of states provokes conflicts within the oppressed and exploited, as is the case in Syria today, or Yugoslavia in the past, communists act for defeatism and call on proletarians and poor peasants to unite against the old and new oppressors. And when part of the population is the victim of a particular oppression (national, cultural, religious or gendered), communists take their side by defending the class perspective as a viable alternative to nationalist and religious-political illusions. This is still the case for the struggle against national oppression in Ireland, Tibet and Palestine, against the French colonisation of the “Overseas Territories” (“Territoires d’outre-Mer” - TOMs) etc. The same considerations also apply to patriarchy, where communists propose a struggle against the oppression of women (and sexual minorities) on the basis of a class movement rather than a perspective of modernisation of the democratic state.

But let’s return to a more detailed analysis of the situation in Rojava.

What’s going on in Rojava? A brief inventory of relations between Syria, Turkey, the PYD and… the PKK

The background to Rojava is without a doubt the Kurdish question. Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, the Kurds have been present in four states: Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, as well as in an important diaspora in Europe and America. In broad outline, the population was divided before 2011 as follows: Syria, 2 million; Iraq, 5.4 million; Iran, 7.8 million; Turkey 14.3 million. In Turkey, the provinces of “Kurdistan” have 9 million Kurdish inhabitants (including 2.65 million in mountainous provinces). The remaining 5.3 million Kurds live in the provinces of central Anatolia and above all in the economic capitals Ankara and Istanbul. In all the countries where they live the Kurds have been victims for a long time of national discrimination and repression.
Thus the Kurds have become hostages of confrontations between the regional powers (Iran-Turkey, Iran-Iraq, Syria-Turkey, etc.). The sudden changes in the alliances of their self-proclaimed representatives with regard to their successive protectors have never been crowned with any lasting success, with the exception of the autonomous Kurdish region in Iraq since 2005. In the strict framework of Rojava, the determining element today is that of relations between the Syria of declining dictator Assad and the Turkey of rising dictator Erdoğan.

Syria became independent in 1946 (after 26 years under the French Mandate)6 and the sources of conflict with Turkey are:

  • Territorial. The former Sanjak of Alexandretta was reattached to Turkey in 1939. It’s a territory which Syria claims,
  • Bloc membership. Turkey has belonged to NATO since 1951. On the other side, under the leadership of the Ba’ath Party, Syria drew closer to the USSR from 1954. A factor of great division is the attitude towards Israel, which Syria went to war with in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973. Ankara, on the contrary, recognised the “Jewish State” in 1949 and supported it without fail up until 2009,
  • Control of water. Syria condemns Turkey for its upstream control of the Tigris and Euphrates, and has been opposed since 1980 to dam projects by Turkey (Güneydoğu Anadolu Projesi, South-East Anatolia Project)7 .

The Kurdish question in Turkey makes the situation even more complex. From 1979, Öcalan, the iconic leader of the PKK, took refuge in Syria and was in close contact with the government of Assad senior. Thanks to his support, the PKK recruited tens of thousands of Syrian Kurdish fighters and persuaded them that the solution to their problems in Syria lay in fighting for the Kurds in Turkey. In an interview with a Syrian journalist, Öcalan himself denied the existence of a Syrian Kurdistan, claiming that the Kurds in Syria were only political refugees from Turkey. So, Assad Senior supported the PKK so as to help him get rid of the Syrian Kurds by inciting them to emigrate to Turkey8 . The Syria-PKK honeymoon officially ended in 1999. Following the Adana agreement between Turkey and Syria, Öcalan had to leave Damascus. Assad Junior came to power, closing three PKK bases and handing 400 PKK militants over to the Turkish government9 .

The coming to power of the AKP in 2002 accelerated the diplomatic reshuffle between Ankara and Damascus. On 22 December 2004, a free trade agreement was signed. In 2009, Erdoğan condemned operation “Cast Lead” by Israel against Gaza while recognising the so-called “Palestinian cause”. The same year, a military cooperation between Turkey and Syria was announced (the first exercise in common was in April 200910 ). In the process the Turkish President went to Damascus on 21 July 2009. Cooperation was also reinforced on the economic plain with negotiations, at the beginning of 2011, on numerous common projects – modernisation of the border post at Nusaybin-Qamishli, creation of a common bank between Syria and Turkey, the building of a fast train line between Gaziantep and Aleppo, the integration of the natural gas networks of the two countries and the construction of the “Friendship Dam” on the Orontes river11 .

But the war in Syria blew the rapprochement to pieces. A month after declaring that Assad was a “friend”, Erdoğan denounced his “savagery” and his “inhuman” behaviour towards the opposition. In August, he went as far as comparing the repression in Hama and Latakia to acts carried out by Saddam Hussein. The Turkish Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu, went to Damascus on 9 August 2011 to demand the end of military operations against civilians12 .
In parallel, from March 2011, Turkey received figures from the Syrian opposition, including the Muslim Brotherhood, close to the AKP. The Turkish President moved closer to Saudi Arabia since the coming to power of King Salman in January 2015. A Sunni axis of Saudi Arabia-Qatar-Turkey was created to support various Sunni components of the opposition to Assad. The military successes of the group Jaish Al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), founded on 24 March 2015, gathering several Islamist factions close to the Muslim Brotherhood, were pushed by the three countries13 . It is in this context that the PKK and its Syrian subsidiary the PYD (Partiya Yekîtiya Demokrat, Democratic Union Party)14 took their chances. Contrary to the propaganda of the PKK and its leftist supporters, these two organisations only got along because they shared the same ideology and a number of leading militants of the PYD (and the YPG Yekîneyên Parastina Gel, Kurdish People’s Protection Units, its armed wing) were active in the PKK.

The PKK, always a Stalinist party

We dedicated an article15 to the analysis of the politico-military defeat of the PKK following the surrender of Öcalan in 1999. Here are the main points:

“The Stalinist matrix of this party is at bottom its capacity to flip-flop between alliances and programmes: from Kurdish nationalism to Greater-Turkish nationalism, from atheism to Islamism, from warmongering to pacifism, from glorifying the most ferocious dictators to rallying to Western liberal democracy [and today to nonsense about participatory democracy]. The red line which they tie themselves to is the counter-revolution” […] “The innumerable military and diplomatic mistakes are only a reflection of basic errors and continual political mistakes of the PKK. Over the years, this organisation has ceaselessly changed objectives and alliances while sowing the greatest confusion in the ranks of Kurds. First it proclaimed its fight for the constitution of a unitary Kurdish state; then it rallied to the point of view of independence of only Kurdistan in Turkey. Following this, the PKK declared the aim of a modest administrative autonomy for South East Anatolia and today, from the mouth of its President and from the conclusions adopted by the Seventh Congress of January 2000, it only demands the maintenance of the language recognition implemented since 1990 by the Turkish authorities. After having spread hate amongst the Kurds towards Turkish proletarians, who, on the contrary, had to be called for common struggle against the dominant classes of the country, the PKK made itself the champion of national unity and, according to the very words of its leader, democracy, the Kemalist state and the Greater-Turkish imperial project”. […] “The PKK has for a long time succeeded in capturing the combative energies which are plentiful in the Kurdish proletariat and the poor peasants, deepened by the national oppression which they are victims of. The PKK has often appropriated for reasons of effectiveness, under the pretext of giving them structure, village self-defence initiatives against the violence of the state, monopolising them in a war of fronts against the Turkish army for contradictory and cheap objectives, all this without having demonstrated on the ground the capacity to protect populations from cleansing operations in combat zones. Its almost twenty year history is certainly that of the Kurdish revolt but it is also its worst expression. The determination to liquidate the guerrillas who don’t want to make peace with the state, the pitiless annihilation of militants (several dozen deaths per week even today – in 2000 –) who, by the simple fact of resisting, refuse to denature their political engagement, in the sense of a life of combat against the Turkish state, are the other side of this great enterprise of pacification of which Öcalan has been made the spokesperson. So Öcalan will have betrayed one more time the cause of the Kurdish people and its most determined militants but certainly not the strictly nationalist political principles which have always governed the action of the PKK.” […] “Since its first ambush against soldiers on 15 August 1984, this group has accumulated errors on the military level. The choice of a guerrilla war carried out far from urban centres showed itself to be a disaster. Little by little, the Turkish armed forces succeeded in fixing the armed Kurds along a front line far from the Kurdish towns, and the cities of Turkey where half the Kurds live. The departure of fighters for other countries in the region was a stage they had to follow. The breath of fresh air represented by the establishment of a ‘demilitarised’ zone between Turkey and Iraq in Iraqi territory following the insurrection in the Kurdish north of Iraq in March 1991 was translated into a veritable trap in which the two Iraqi Kurdish factions, the KDP and the PUK, led respectively by Massoud Barzani and Jalal Talabani, united in the repression of the PKK militants.”

The PYD, a pale copy of the PKK in Syria

Ally of Assad, Russia and the USA

But what is this strange politico-military object which claims to apply the principles decreed by Öcalan of democratic confederalism16 in the line of Murray Bookchin17 ? Creating a free agrarian society opposed to the big owners, for gender equality and a secular society? Bookchin theorised that hierarchical relations are the cause of all oppressions (men/women, young/old, rich/poor) and of the ecological disaster to come. He thought therefore that the state (all states) is the cause of corruption and the loss of liberty. Relations of production themselves are therefore reduced by this ideologue, who professed himself to be a libertarian and an ecologist, to simple relations of command by man over man. According to an official of the PYD, “Rojava is beyond the nation state”18 . What is the reality of this?

The mini-state of Rojava sets itself up in opposition to the Assad regime. Yet, since 2011, the PYD/PKK has been the most constant and consistent internal ally of that regime, which removed its troops from this territory in 2012. Coordinated military operations against the militias of Aleppo have been conducted since then. The YPG have never practically crossed swords with the Syrian, Russian or Iranian butchers present on Syrian soil. Its great military feat remains the victory over IS at Kobanî, a victory which nevertheless would not have been possible without hundreds of American air raids against the Islamist attackers.

The PYD have therefore made the choice of an alliance with the Assad regime twice over: to undermine the position of the KDP and let it fight the regime alone as the only Kurdish force, and to benefit from refusing to fight the regime (by de facto allying with it) so as to consolidate its own forces and to control territory. The agreement doesn’t just favour the PYD, the Assad regime also gains significantly: on the one side, taking troops out of the Rojava zone to concentrate them in the useful central Damascus-Aleppo zone; on the other, assuring themselves an ally capable of fighting against IS and preventing the unification of the Kurdish forces in Syria. Assad made a gesture of goodwill to the PYD: around a hundred Kurdish political prisoners from the PYD were freed, the leader of the PYD, Mohammed Salih Muslim, was allowed to return from exile and 300,000 Kurds were granted Syrian nationality in April 201119 20 . This agreement works well, so the Syrian administration remains in place, in Hasakah and Qamishli where the two administrations cohabit - sometimes lodged in the same building, and with the Syrian officials always paid by the Assad government. But this most certainly does not work for the good of the local population: often, some people are taxed twice. For judicial matters there is a competition, with each administration refusing to recognise documents issued by the other one.

The Rojava experiment claims to be anti-imperialist21 . Yet the PYD is at the same time the ally of the USA and Russia. Its military force, the YPG, is by far the biggest component of the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces), a military coalition called for and recognised by Washington. The YPG are armed by the USA and trained by Russian special forces. And it was American and Russian diplomats who stopped the “Shield of the Euphrates” offensive by armoured Turkish divisions in the Manbij region held by the PYD22 . Did you say anti-imperialists?

So, on 31 January 2015, Brett McGurk, special emissary from the White House for the fight against IS, went to Kobanî to reinforce links between Washington and the PYD, a trip renewed in September 2016. As well as providing arms and ammunition (but no heavy gear such as missiles), the USA has sent a small contingent of special forces (250 military experts) and supervised the construction of the military airfield at Rimêlan, in the canton of Djezireh, inaugurated in January 2016. In addition, the YPG participates in fighting against IS under US coordination23 . This participation is in accordance with the requirements of the US High Command.

This was confirmed on 10 May 2016, when the Pentagon declared that it considered the arming of the Kurdish forces of the SDF (mostly made up of the YPG) “as a necessity to ensure an overall victory” in Raqqa, the real capital of IS. A Pentagon spokesperson specified that the equipment provided to the SDF would be limited, and was intended for a precise mission and would be provided “in so far as the objectives are achieved”. Another US official stated, under condition of anonymity, that the essential equipment provided to the YPG included submachine guns, light arms, munitions and armoured vehicles24 .

But the PYD can also count on Russia (which in the same time period has developed Qamishli airport in the far east of Rojava). For Russia, maintaining aid to the PYD allows it to have a supporting force in addition to Assad’s army. Russia has always supported the project of autonomy for Syrian Kurdistan, a means of putting pressure on Turkey. The reshuffling of Russo-Turkish relations since the failed coup against Erdoğan, in all its variations, has not stopped for one moment Russian support for the Kurds in Syria. Thus the PYD was invited as an observer at the Astana conference on 23 and 24 January 2017 (to the great displeasure of the SNC), where the Russian government proposed a project for a constitution which is not based on Islamic law as the principal legal foundation, recognises the Kurdish language, but does not call for any kind of federalism, just a decentralised Syria25 .

The PYD is supposed to be a champion of democracy. Too bad if its opponents should be systematically prevented from acting and speaking publicly. The party-state controls everything and will kick out any functionary who is not loyal to it and replace them with its disciples. According to Jian Omar, an oppositionist from the Future Party, the PYD is a “dictatorship” whose “arbitrary practices” include “repression, assassinations and detentions for those who oppose PYD policies”.26 This is confirmed by Human Rights Watch, which carried out a three-week investigation on the spot in February 2015, as well as by Amnesty International in October 2015. The NGO accuses the PYD of destroying Arab villages which protected fighters from IS27 28 . In mid-March the PYD regime carried out a serious raid against the Kurdish opposition to its dictatorship and closed the offices of its opponents29 .

The kings of communication

In the end it’s in the field of communication that the PYD truly shows how modern it is, with a bourgeois media coverage which goes well beyond its real influence and presumed exemplary character. The postulate of its propaganda is to aim at bourgeois lefties who want to depict themselves as radicals. YPG commander Cihan Kendal (actually a German from Saarland with an anti-fascist background30 ) was interviewed on 1 August 2016 by Gary Oak (another international volunteer for the YPG) and the interview appeared on numerous sites in the UK31 , Belgium32 and France33 . In response to the question “… in Europe we have seen the rise of anti-austerity movements like Podemos, Syriza and Jeremy Corbyn. Do you see any similarities with these movements?”, he replied:

“Of course, as we are part of the anti-capitalist struggle ourselves, we are always glad to see that people in different parts of the world are criticising the capitalist system … But when we are talking about building up a revolution, then it is clear that classical political parties that are just working in parliament don’t work. … the most important part is when people organise to run society themselves, go beyond the state. Abdullah Ocalan has a formula for this – “state plus democracy””

We can put it better by saying that classes continue to exist in Rojava and that the state is the great organiser of them. In passing, this professional soldier, addressing supporters from the Western far left, says that all this can only function by self-organisation. A self-organisation of very state-oriented “people” to be sure! There is another weighty truth in the interview when the military chief claims links with the Assad regime. We can see that the effective programme of the PYD is that of a Kurdish autonomy within Syria, including in agreement with its principal butcher, a plan in every way identical to that of the PKK which wants a Turkish Kurdistan within a Turkish federal state.

“Rojava is for sure not a PKK dictatorship” he continues, “there are so many contradictions in the revolution it’s clearly not a dictatorship of any kind. There is no connection with the PKK; Öcalan is our philosophical and ideological leader, but there is no PKK here. … of course we have a police force, how else would it be possible to defend … the necessary order in society without a police force? But as well as our first police force … there is the HPC, Society Defence Force – they are civilians … getting trained in conflict resolution … They try to solve problems, not to create new ones by punishing people and sending them to jail.”

The 6,000 Asayish34 cops are still there to assure the role of control of populations. The hard core of the state is firmly in place. This was demonstrated in June 2013 in Amuda when the repression of an anti-PYD demonstration organised by the Democratic Party led to six deaths and 50 people in prison35 .

“[W]e all know what the US wants and what it doesn’t want, and their responsibility for groups like ISIS and Al Nusra. … They want to use us and we try to get the best out of it. Their main regional allies are of course Turkey, Barzani’s Peshmerga forces, and still parts of the FSA who they are training with the British Army in Lebanon. America would like to have us as a main ally, but they know that is not possible; militarily we are cooperating at times, but ideologically we are enemies.”

And so here is declared, it couldn’t be clearer, the military alliance between the USA and the PYD. An alliance which rests on the provision of weapons, the sending of special forces by Washington and the coordination of American air strikes with the YPG.

The PYD also shows off its feminism, which clearly draws a line in relation to the outrageous sexism of the Islamists. But is it enough to create women’s battalions to proclaim the end of the oppression of women by men? Certainly not. To do that, the first objective would be to demolish from top to bottom the patriarchal structure of civil society and the tribes. A policy which the PYD would never adopt because it is always on the lookout for support from Kurdish “traditional society”, exactly like IS with the Sunni tribes of Iraq and Syria. When asked about the discontinued “Lions of Rojava” campaign which presented a very male (indeed thoroughly macho) image of the Rojava warrior, “Kendal” replied:

“I personally believe that, let’s say in a month, let’s say in a year, the number of women coming to Rojava will be bigger than the number of men. The main force of this revolution is the women’s movement and their ideology”

Let’s just say we’re sceptical about this claim… Multiplying the images of women fighters or members of cooperatives says nothing about relations between men and women, and says nothing about relations of reproduction. It means forgetting the yoke which always subjugates those women who live under the tribal regime with its accompanying forced marriages and “honour” crimes. And this remains true even if no one doubts that today it’s better for a woman to live in Rojava than under the yoke of IS.

But what became of social classes in Rojava?

To summarise, classes certainly exist and reproduce themselves in Rojava, as everywhere else. You can find peasants of all incomes, petty merchants of all kinds, bosses, employees of the Syrian state or the new PYD state, teachers, workers in small-scale industry and the liberal professions. The great majority of PYD cadres are lawyers, teachers, doctors or engineers qualified in Syria (a few) and in Turkey (a lot). Akram Kamal Hasu, the prime minister of the Canton of Cizire36 is a Syrian “rich businessman”.

If we examine the class composition of Rojava, we see that it’s a mostly rural society in an area which is partly fertile, with artisans, small-scale commerce, and limited services. There are two factories (the Lafarge cement works in Jalabiya37 and the oil refinery at Rumêlan38 ), therefore a very rudimentary industrial proletariat. Over this structure there remains a pre-capitalist organisation of civil society maintaining itself in the form of clans and tribes. The tribes are not necessarily nomadic, as generally in the Arab world, but clearly it is a system of social relations which is strongly hierarchical.

Tell me who you support, and I’ll tell you who you are

The passion of the last few remaining Maoists, third-worldists of every hue, “anti-imperialists”, Scottish nationalists, alter-globalists, Trotskyists and even anarchists and “antagonists” for Rojava can only be compared to that for the “Palestinian cause”. After the Stalinist USSR, Mao’s China and all the exotic destinations which followed, it’s now fallen to Rojava to bear “revolutionary” hopes. Rojava feeds the hopes of those who’ve turned their backs on class struggle or who never waved its flag. The popularity of these marginal phenomena of the permanent restructuration of capitalist domination is inversely proportional to the intensity of class struggle which goes on there. Today, it scarcely appears at all so inter-classism and nationalisms of various colours prosper. Pilgrimages by “antagonists” to the new holy places of anti-imperialism and nationalism multiply as they did in the past to Cuba, Maoist China, Palestine or Chiapas.

Among the enthusiastic visitors39 , we find David Graeber, one of the initiators of Occupy Wall Street, who, during his visit in December 2014, declared to the Turkish journal Evrensel: “These people are doing it now. If they prove that it can be done, that a genuinely egalitarian and democratic society is possible, it will completely transform people’s sense of human possibility.”40 And in a preceding article in the Guardian41 , this same personage dared to claim that the Spanish Civil war was being replayed in Rojava, adding that the PKK was “inspired by the strategy of the Zapatista rebels in Chiapas…”

Rojava is saluted not only as a glimmer of hope against the “fascist” obscurantism of IS but also as a “proud experience of grassroots democracy” as is claimed by Sarah Glynn42 , a Scottish activist in the campaign “Solidarity with Kurdistan”. Testimonies of defenders of Rojava are constantly relayed without the slightest concern to go beyond “combat” folklore and the soothing communications of the new authorities of the territory. Not a word is said in explanation of the complicit relations with the Assad regime. No study is ever undertaken to understand class composition and to unveil the perfectly capitalist social relations which reign in the enclave of the PKK/PYD. Starting from that point of view, the conclusion is inevitable: Rojava is a paradise on earth. Down with Paradise!

The only solution for ending the national oppression of the Kurds, communist revolution

In a short text from the beginning of 1916, “The socialist revolution and the right of nations to self-determination”43 , Lenin correctly pointed out that “The aim of socialism is not only to abolish the present division of mankind into small states and all national isolation; not only to bring the nations closer to each other, but also to merge them”. It’s an aim completely opposed therefore to one pursued within the capitalist mode of production.

For all that, communism cannot remain indifferent to the fact that the infinite summersaults of capitalism are always throwing the borders between states into question, sometimes peacefully but more often through war. The end of the colonial era in the division of the planet has not put an end to the imperialist policies of states. Since the first Iraq war, marked by Iraq’s occupation of Kuwait, annexations have followed one after another, the latest being that of Crimea, achieved, like the one attempted in the Donbass, by Russia. And let’s not forget the expansionist plotting of China in the sea bearing its name and the endless war between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. Across the world, hundreds of different inert populations are jolted about, displaced, repressed. Others, such as the Kurds, Palestinians and Tibetans, are under the yoke of a central state and are victims of policies of massive displacement or of repopulation with injections of people considered more loyal. “Official” colonies have diminished in number but enclaves of segregation flourish even in modern states on the basis of ethnicity or religion. National oppression still has good many days ahead of it in the epoch of developed capitalism.

These oppressions end up in conflicts and, in some cases, in civil wars where states throw one part of the population against another. Despite that, as Lenin says in the text cited above, it is perfectly possible that certain “national questions” cannot be overcome by capitalism. And this is exclusively a reflection of its own interests. In this regard, Lenin set out a general criterion:

“The more closely the democratic system of state approximates to complete freedom of secession, the rarer and weaker will the striving for secession be in practice; for the advantages of large states, both from the point of view of economic progress and from the point of view of the interests of the masses, are beyond doubt, and these advantages increase with the growth of capitalism.” (idem)

Lenin denied that national self-determination is impossible within the framework of capitalism. But he specified that it would be, at best, imperfect and only “political”, not “economic” because it would not call into question the existence of classes and the dictatorship of today’s dominant classes.

“even the one example of the secession of Norway from Sweden in 1905 is sufficient to refute the argument that it is “infeasible” in this sense.” (idem)

More recently Czechia and Slovakia separated in a consensual fashion. The self-determination of nations under capitalism can only be a political emancipation of an oppressed nation in the form of the creation of a new state. This is why recognising the necessity for the revolutionary proletariat to fight oppressions coming out of societies divided into classes must not imply direct or indirect support for the constitution of new bourgeois states, including “freer” and more democratic ones.

“The right of nations to self-determination means only the right to independence in a political sense, the right to free, political secession from the oppressing nation. … this demand is by no means identical with the demand for secession, for partition, for the formation of small states.” (idem)

Even more, to achieve freedom from oppressions maintained by capital or simply inherited from preceding societies, it is necessary that this specific battle should be fought with the means of the proletarian revolution and under the direction of the only class in today’s world which is the bearer of the project of liberation, the working class. But let’s let Lenin speak again:

“it is necessary to formulate and put forward all these demands, not in a reformist, but in a revolutionary way; not by keeping within the framework of bourgeois legality, but by breaking through it; not by confining oneself to parliamentary speeches and verbal protests, but by drawing the masses into real action, by widening and fomenting the struggle for every kind of fundamental, democratic demand, right up to and including the direct onslaught of the proletariat against the bourgeoisie, i.e., to the socialist revolution, which will expropriate the bourgeoisie. The socialist revolution may break out not only in consequence of a great strike, a street demonstration, a hunger riot, a mutiny in the forces, or a colonial rebellion, but also in consequence of any political crisis, like the Dreyfus affair, the Zabern incident, or in connection with a referendum on the secession of an oppressed nation, etc.” (idem)

The proletariat of today must take charge of this struggle in the same way that its English ancestor of the nineteenth century should have taken charge of the struggle against the national oppression of the Irish. Marx thus defined the class line:

“I have become more and more convinced—and it is only a question of driving this conviction home to the English working class — that it can never do anything decisive here in England until it separates its policy with regard to Ireland most definitely from the policy of the ruling classes, until it not only makes common cause with the Irish but even takes the initiative in dissolving the Union established in 1801 and replacing it by a free federal relationship. And this must be done, not as a matter of sympathy with Ireland but as a demand made in the interests of the English proletariat. If not, the English people will remain tied to the leading-strings of the ruling classes, because it will have to join with them in a common front against Ireland. Every one of its movements in England itself is crippled by the strife with the Irish, who form a very important section of the working class in England.”44 (Karl Marx, Letter to Kugelmann, 29 November 1869).

The response brought forward is that of federation. The federative form is that best adapted to heal the deep wounds caused by millennia of wars, of breaches of trust, of hostility and competition between population groups. The proletarian revolution of October 1917 in Russia scrupulously applied this directive of Marx, by inscribing in its Constitution of 1918: “The Soviet Republic of Russia is founded on the free union of free nations, as a federation of national Soviet Republics” (Article One, Chapter 1, Point 2)45 . A federation all the more free in that it opens the way to the abolition of everything which imposes the exploitation of people and of nature. A federation which is conceived as an indispensable, inevitable step towards the unification and centralisation of the human community beyond borders and all other differentiations inherited from the past. Lenin again:

“One may be a determined opponent of this principle and a partisan of democratic centralism and yet prefer federation to national inequality as the only path towards complete democratic centralism. It was precisely from this point of view that Marx, although a centralist, preferred even the federation of Ireland with England to the forcible subjection of Ireland to the English.” (idem).

There’s no longer a question of supporting bourgeois democratic movements which fight for the end of national oppression in the advanced capitalist countries because “the bourgeois, progressive, national movements came to an end long ago. Every one of these “great” nations oppresses other nations in the colonies and within its own country” (idem). Nor is there any longer a question of taking the side of movements of national liberation in the less advanced capitalist countries. Very simply, these movements all failed and, when they existed they were from the outset the vassals of the dominant classes. That was the case with the Tricontinentals46 , the “non-aligned” movements after the Second World Butchery, and as is the case today with the PKK, the various Palestinian factions47 , the Tibetan religionists, the Zapatista organisation in Chiapas, etc.

Along the same lines, revolutionary defeatism in the case of bourgeois wars must be expressed as a rejection of all annexations. And this is not in defence of the frontiers as they are, but as a materialisation of the proletarian rejection of capitalist conflicts. Being favourable to the political self-determination of nations and fighting annexations are two faces of the same revolutionary policy, according to Lenin.

“The specific question of annexations has become a particularly urgent one owing to the war. But what is annexation? Clearly, to protest against annexations implies either the recognition of the right of self-determination of nations, or that the protest is based on a pacifist phrase which defends the status quo and opposes all violence including revolutionary violence. Such a phrase is radically wrong, and incompatible with Marxism.” (idem)

It is by scrupulously applying this line that we opposed the annexation of Kuwait by Iraq and, more recently, that of Crimea by Russia.

“Faced with the Russian occupation of the Crimea with the added threat of invasion of the eastern regions of the country, the only possible response for revolutionary proletarians is that of defeatism in both the bourgeois camps which face each other. The colonial policy of annexation and Russification of the eastern Ukrainian provinces is a reflection of the Ukrainian nationalism triumphant in the west. Yet every annexation accelerates the course to capitalist war. Revolutionaries at all times reject annexations not in order to defend the territory of such or such a state but rather because they are an important step towards war. And capitalist war is terrain which is particularly hostile to the emergence of the proletariat as a class for itself. Rejecting Russia’s colonial policy of annexation and promoting defeatism in the two bourgeois camps confronting each other today constitutes the two indispensable bases of an independent workers’ politics in the region.” (MC/KpK, bulletin no. 6, 4 March 2014)48

Following the red line up until the present day involves, in the specific case of the so-called Kurdish question, placing ourselves firmly on the side of the populations harshly oppressed in all the states where they are present in large numbers, defending the perspective of political self-determination in the framework of an international revolutionary process led by the proletariat, the only class capable of putting a definite end to all oppression. It also supposes fighting against all arrangements with oppressor states in the region and elsewhere, like the ones made by the dominant Kurdish organisations to survive by sacrificing the liberation of all Kurds from national oppression. Finally it supposes that Kurdish proletarians identify and fight their own bourgeoisie on the terrain of class struggles, with independent class means and organisation. When the proletariat does not struggle as a determined and organised actor, it is certainly necessary to contribute to its entry into struggle, but this in no way prevents oppressed populations from fighting for specific demands like the end of discrimination, the fight against repression or the defence of a language, but supporting the idea that political self-determination can be truly won without the destruction of the state and going beyond capitalism is a typical nationalist illusion.

MC/KPK, 15 May 2017

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Comments

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on June 30, 2017

so many lies in one uninteresting article

rooieravotr

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rooieravotr on June 30, 2017

Could you please expose the lies in the article, if there are any? Just calling an article "uninteresting" and complaining about "so many lies" without pointing them out, is not really helpful.

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on June 30, 2017

Yeah, please list the lies. I find both sides on Rojava to be quite ideological in their arguments so I really appreciate it when people actually try to give arguments backed up with evidence (ideally that is possible for anyone to verify, though that is a tall order). It is hard enough to make heads or tails out of what is going on even without the many many ideological polemics .

wojtek

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by wojtek on July 1, 2017

Do they still need a tea lady?

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AndrewF on July 1, 2017

The problem here is that a point by point reply to this would be a huge amount of labour and for what end. It's a patch work of snippy comments, many either outdated or discredited or even withdrawn put together in other to promote some very old ideological conclusions. It doesn't really deal with anything that's concrete to the situation and at times its ludicrous & contradictory.

I'll take one example, in talking of womens liberation "the first objective would be to demolish from top to bottom the patriarchal structure of civil society and the tribes. " OK grand slogan, what happening in practise? On the one hand women are being armed and trained and becoming central role models - demolishing old stereotypers , on the other womens houses are being opened in most towns and cities, each chair/co-chair has to include a women and womens groups are part of the standard setup everywhere with exclusive power to look at DV, forced marriages etc. That looks like something that over time will demolish patriarchal relations but lets unpick what the 'alternative' first objective would require to be more than a slogan. Nothing less that a military intervention into every aspect of society, in other words more of what elsewhere this essay claims to be against, and in particular more police. Not the struggle that is currently taking place based on mobilising women and creating the spaces (and support) for them to resist but a cop in every home.

This is typical of the essay and others like it, on the one hand they proclaim the PYD a dictatorship, on the other hand they demand immediate measures that would really require a dictatorship (and would probably be counter productive, imposed 'liberation' has generally backfired). The point of this piece is not to point to alternatives but simply to criticise using whatever material is to hand.

Likewise the objection to both accepting arms and military support from the US/Russia/whoever and the opposition to diplomacy to prevent a Turkish attack is ludicrous and could only result in the revolution being crushed by multiple forces simultaneously. Spanish anarchists took arms from whoever would supply them, pretty much every force in revolution does this, whatever the motivation of those supplying because the 'choice' is defeat and whether in Spain or Rojava defeat doesn't simply mean a return to normal but slaughter of militants and often their families.

There is no point in a longer rebuttal as the entire piece is only intended as an ideological exercise from far away. It is not at all intended as an alternative program in say the manner of 'Towards a Fresh Revolution' of the Friends of Durruti in 1937. If it was that there would be more to discuss but that would mean actually looking at the forces on the ground and raising demands that fit that context. TBH these guys are sticking to their tradition as the same currents produced very similar pieces during the Spanish revolution that also ignored reality in favour of free floating cookie cutter ideology.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 1, 2017

its useless and a waste of time to discuss with marxists and leninists

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 1, 2017

Thanks for that Andrew.

Rafi, why did you even bother to post that? You have got people asking for a rebuttal and you don't even bother? You have people who are willing to listen. FYi, this is an anarchists website, you won't find many Leninist here.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 1, 2017

hey, khawaga, so many times i tried to discuss with people like you ("Political label: anarchist, communist, marxist ... Favourite political books: Das Kapital") and all i got was a: Thanks for that Rafi!

mikail firtinaci

3 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on July 23, 2020

*

*

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 1, 2017

Likewise the objection to both accepting arms and military support from the US/Russia/whoever and the opposition to diplomacy to prevent a Turkish attack is ludicrous and could only result in the revolution being crushed by multiple forces simultaneously. Spanish anarchists took arms from whoever would supply them, pretty much every force in revolution does this, whatever the motivation of those supplying because the 'choice' is defeat and whether in Spain or Rojava defeat doesn't simply mean a return to normal but slaughter of militants and often their families.

The above is the classic "Leninist"-- and Trotskyist, and Stalinist position: "it doesn't matter who supplies the arms; where the "liberation forces" obtain their arms."

That's not just empty anti-moralizing; it's worse than empty anti-moralizing.... as if the US, or Russia, or NATO, or Saudi Arabia, gives weapons without conditions; without strings attached; without expecting and getting more than just a little something in return.

Yeah, it does matter where you get the guns, because somebody's got to pay.

The Trotskyists love to use the example of Ho Chi Minh receiving weapons from the US in WW2 to fight Japanese occupation. Did that matter? Sure did in 1945, when Ho's "communists" suppressed the workers' revolt and resistance to the reintroduction of imperial domination.

The anarchists tell us how the Spanish anarchists in the civil war accepted weapons from "anybody." Well, thank you for making the point. The access to and distribution of weapons supplied by the former Soviet Union, and in much reduced quantities from other countries, during the civil wars. was contingent on supporting the Popular Front government.

mikail firtinaci

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on July 1, 2017

PKK is recruiting poor families' children by force and calling this women's liberation:

https://www.nso-sy.com/Details/533/Freedom-of-a-man-for-recruiting-his-daughters,-story-of-a-detainee-at-YPG-prison-refused-YPJ-recruiting-his-daughters/en

bastarx

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bastarx on July 2, 2017

AndrewF

There is no point in a longer rebuttal as the entire piece is only intended as an ideological exercise from far away. It is not at all intended as an alternative program in say the manner of 'Towards a Fresh Revolution' of the Friends of Durruti in 1937. If it was that there would be more to discuss but that would mean actually looking at the forces on the ground and raising demands that fit that context. TBH these guys are sticking to their tradition as the same currents produced very similar pieces during the Spanish revolution that also ignored reality in favour of free floating cookie cutter ideology.

The FoD were operating within the context of a genuine workers revolt which had gone badly off the rails. There never were any rails of genuine workers revolt for the PYD to fall off, it was saturated in nationalism from the beginning. Of course that's not a problem for the WSM with its long history of Irish nationalism.

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 2, 2017

Rafi, since you like assumptions so much I'll assume that you have an ideological position on Rojava (much like th article in the OP) and thus that you actually have little knowledge about what is actually happening there.

Here's the thing, I was quite ideological on Rojava as well, mainly dismissing it. But because supporters (kurrem and Flint in particular) bothered with actual arguments I've changed my position to be more of a fence sitter, recognizing that from where I am in the world it is hard to know what is happening on the ground. All of this means that I am quite open to arguments backed with evidence. Hence, when you say the piece is all lies, it would be great if you could point them out because how else would I know? Sure, I could spot a few of them and realize the heavy handed ideology behind many statements (and the conclusion was as satisfying as anything the swp publishes in ISJ)...

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AndrewF on July 2, 2017

Noteworthy that for all the down voting no-one actually dealt with the substance of the reply. I suspect thats the other reason people have given up here, its always the same, a load of down votes and no actual engagement

Ed

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Ed on July 2, 2017

Yeah, I have to say that, like Khawaga, I've moved from being very anti-Rojava to being more of a fence-sitter (even, *gasp!*, critically supportive). The thing that initially put me off was all the talk of 'revolution', 'just like Spain '36' etc. which it pretty evidently is not. However, in a world where it sometimes seems we're more fighting to slow down the advance of barbarism rather than for the rapid institution of socialism, there is a part of me that thinks what's happening is at least some respite from the ethno-nationalism and religious fundamentalism rife in the region (whether coming from Arab countries or from Israeli, Turkish, Iranian, Syrian, or Kurdish populations).

As K has said, posters like kurrem and Flint have posted interesting material in the past, particularly some saying that PKK/PYD forces have resisted ethnic and religious divisions; mikhail, do you argue this is untrue? Do you think that they are every bit a part of those divisions as, say, Erdogan or the various Sunni militias are?

That said, I also agree with S. Artesian's point that saying 'it doesn't matter where they get their guns from' is extremely short-sighted. Yet, again, I wonder whether the issues are again with the Spain '36 comparisons; I wonder if a better comparison might be with WW2 anti-fascist partisans who collaborated with the Allied Powers. True, this was often to their own detriment and the strategic advancement of imperialism yet equally it stopped the advancement of barbarism in Europe.

I also wonder (sorry, lots of 'wondering'; the nature of a fence-sitter!) whether pro-Rojava types secretly (that is, because I've not seen it argued anywhere) look to the example of the Mujahideen, who were funded by the US but eventually turned against them, as something which the Kurds may be able to emulate but for progressive ends.

So that's how I think of it: historical precedents to Rojava might not be revolution but WW2 anti-Nazi resistance or even the fucking Mujahideen ('but of the Left!' ;) ). Not sure if that makes it worth supporting but at least feels a more honest appraisal of what's going on. Might be wrong though.

Also, Andrew, I wouldn't worry too much about downvotes. I'm sure many readers appreciated your post. I certainly did, anyway. What are your thoughts on my estimation above?

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AndrewF on July 2, 2017

It's certainly not Spain 36 particularly in the sense that when that happened you had a substantial minority of workers with not only a reasonable understanding or anarchism but concrete organisational practise of methodology in terms of unions and centres. Apart from the external threats the greatest barrier in Rojava is that its the creation of a fairly small cadre (I've seen figures as low as 1,000) trying to shift a very much larger population. And the politics of that cadre are uneven and contradictory in aspects, particularly in the role of Ocalan although to an extent I think he's also a Mandela figure - of huge influence but without a day to day or even week to week say because he's in isolation behind bars.

As with the Zapatistas pre 94 that cadre seems to be dong the right things in relation to trying to develop an assembly based system - the widespread arming and training of the population is also encouraging in that regard. But that is certainly fragile and not just because of external threats but because of its (hopefully diminishing) reliance on the PYD.

I think the attempts to argue the YPG/J are 'as bad' as other militias in ludicrous, its telling that such arguments rely on things that happened years back and are acknowledged mistakes. There isn't the sort of volume of shit that you see almost all other forces in the conflict produce every week if not every day - there is at least a magnitude of difference. It's also very clear that the trajectory of the SDF has successfully created a force that is increasingly multi-ethnic if of course complicated that in part its created through the existing fault lines in ethnic groups (although how else could it be). There are numerous flaws but there isn't anything remotely comparable in the region, outside of small regions of Southern Syria no one else is even trying (those who did elsewhere have been crushed in the civil war).

The Mujahideen example is only of interest in so far as it demonstrates that imperialist weapons supply doesn't translate into some magic telepathic control, but history is littered with other movements that took guns from one or another source. Irish nationalists took guns from Spain, France and Germany at various points (and Libya more recently) but were never under the control of any of those forces. The idea that weapons = control is cold war stalinism at its worst, and only made sense (but still as a dishonest argument) in that period for those who thought the USSR worth siding with.

If the French invasion had worked in 1798 (Ireland) there would have been a clash at some point in all likelihood, but most radical Kurds also expect a clash with the US if all else works out, 'Our only friends are the mountains'. And of course they tried fighting ISIS without such support and got pushed back in Kobane to a strip of a few 100m up against the Turkish border because when your enemy has tanks you need anti-tank weapons, internationalist fraternisation being unlikely to disarm ISIS.

It's notable that the Yanks preferred to give air support rather than anti-tank weapons because air support can be turned on and off like a tap whereas missile systems can be hoarded and hidden much as Spanish anarchists in WWII allied armies robbed and stored arms for use in Spain. The weapons delivered have been upped recently to include 120mm mortars but almost nothing that would give hope of a static defence against the Turkish army. The ease with which Turkey took out the YPG HQ a month back with nighttime airstrikes illustrates a relative helplessness in that respect, from what I understand everyone military has been sleeping outside of buildings at night because there is no effective defence if the yanks allow another such attack.

Mostly I get frustrated because the subtext of the critiques is that all that can be done is to run away, risk live as a refugees and maybe become a 'real proletarian' if you can make it to a car factory in Europe. There isn't an alternative program being advanced, as I said a 'Towards a Fresh Revolution' for this context would be a very interesting thing to discuss.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 2, 2017

As with the Zapatistas pre 94 that cadre seems to be dong the right things in relation to trying to develop an assembly based system - the widespread arming and training of the population is also encouraging in that regard. But that is certainly fragile and not just because of external threats but because of its (hopefully diminishing) reliance on the PYD.

Well, that's an interesting comparison. Can you expand on that-- and not just on "program"-- but in time? What has happened since 1994? What difference have the Zapatistas made to the living conditions and class struggle in Mexico?

You can, I guess, publish pretty full color photos of agriculture in Rojava, and.....and what? It's like publishing pictures of "Occupy" and saying, "Here's the revolution, pass it on."

The article from MC is claimed to be full of falsehoods. Where are the lies? I'm not talking about "unfair" evaluations, etc. but outright lies. Where are the lies?

And this:

It's notable that the Yanks preferred to give air support rather than anti-tank weapons because air support can be turned on and off like a tap whereas missile systems can be hoarded and hidden much as Spanish anarchists in WWII allied armies robbed and stored arms for use in Spain.

says volumes ( I was going to write "says it all"-- but that would be me just being me, you know over dramatizing by actually quoting someone's own words). "Spanish anarchists in WW2 allied armies"? FFS, do you not see the "immanent critique" in that?

They "robbed and stored arms for use in Spain." Really? Worked out brilliantly, don't you think? Yeah, first you support the popular front to "get weapons" from the former Soviet Union, which support of course seals the defeat of the revolution; then as a result of the defeat of revolution, you get WW2; then the Spanish anarchists that (may or may not) have supported the popular front, join the "new" popular front, the bourgeoisie's military, and "steal weapons" for a future revolution, date to e determined.

And look how successful that was? Just look how important those weapons were.......35 years later when the Franco regime, collapsed, but capitalism more than survived, it triumphed.

Of course this is not unexpected after this:

Irish nationalists took guns from Spain, France and Germany at various points (and Libya more recently) but were never under the control of any of those forces. The idea that weapons = control is cold war stalinism at its worst, and only made sense (but still as a dishonest argument) in that period for those who thought the USSR worth siding with.

Irish nationalists? So that's where we are? Endorsing the Irish nationalists? Notice how we've gone from claiming that "X has the right to get weapons from any source" to ignoring the class politics behind X getting the weapons from particular sources.

No, the weapons don't = control. It does, however, constitute a convergence of interest, as both the Irish nationalists and those providing the weapons were competing with British capitalism and all were threatened by proletarian revolution.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 3, 2017

and fence-sitters? ready to get on the gravy train?

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 3, 2017

I get it now, you are just trying to score points.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

WithDefiance

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by WithDefiance on July 3, 2017

I think there are many reasons to be wary of what is going on in Rojava, but I'm getting a bit tired of these dogmatic and idealized debates where people have on theoretical vision of how things 'ought to go' during a revolution - and criticizing, calling even for the failure of the project (with an attempted poetizised outcry of 'down with paradise').

I am with AndrewF on this and I call for a critical support approach. I think if you want to be honest revolutionaries, there can always be flaws and problems pinpointed. And as anarchists and thus as revolutionaries, I think it is our task to try and push the events towards a libertarian direction, and support those in their ranks who are doing so as well, seek out allies and try and find a public for our ideas.

I think the major flaw in the approach of that MC/KPK is that its highly sectarian, as is so often with our Internationalist Communist Current-comrades. Calling to abandon the project, is to leave the ground open for authoritarianism, and I think this is one of the biggest mistakes often made but libertarians - we should fight back, have trust in our ideas and be persistent.

Also I think the Rojava-project is a chance to overcome some important cultural barriers that have the chance to unite movements from different backgrounds, like the Turkish and Kurdish with the many European currents. But that is not going to happen from the attitude of leaning backwards in an armchair. That can only grow out of mutual support, comradely debate and engagement.

Next to that, I think that the experiments within Rojava and the Kurdish movement as a whole are containing a set of very interesting elements that we in Europe can learn from a lot as well - being strong cultural aspects, strong solidarity and the way they are trying to abolish patriarchy with the idea of parallel womens organisations and the shared co-hosting.

Also this article seems to be pretty dated and takes some considerations and developments into the political development of Rojava not into account, like the forming of the North Syrian Federation etc.:

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 4, 2017

Artesian

damn, K, you should have been a detective

Yeah, my Sherlock abilities are beyond this world ;)

Seriously though, I genuinely wanted Rafi to explain what he saw as lies coz I really don't know what happens in Rojava. Given how little I know about what goes on there it is hard for me to make heads or tails about what is going on; kind of similar to me trying to learn about quantuum computing or some shit like that where I have little to no knowledge on which to judge evidence. Tis lack of knowledge is also why I don't really engage that much in discussions on Rojava anymore (but for asking questions here and there) because I realized that my arguments were almost all based on theory and principles rather than in addition to knowledge of what is happening on the ground.

Juan Conatz

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on July 5, 2017

I've noticed that when people spend time refuting stuff, with citations, their posts mostly go ignored. Flint has a large number of posts like these if you look around the site on threads and articles on Rojava.

Rob Ray

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on July 5, 2017

They don't go ignored, they just don't get the volume of replies that bad (and easily beatable with quick/simple posts) refutations get. If anything, their worth is probably better measured in decreasing input on threads like these — ie. people who might have posted "great article OP, spot on" no longer do so. It's worth noting in that context that only one person on this thread has written strongly in favour of it — in fact they're outnumbered four to one by people complaining about a phenomenon of dogmatic rejection of counterpoints that hasn't actually manifested at all in the comments.

Like Ed and Khawaga, I've ended up with a sort of fence-sitting approach rather than dismissing it largely through reading detailed rebuttals. They don't inspire copious upvotes because, by their nature, they're not the sort of writing that strongly confirms people's views, but tbh upvotes are pretty pointless things to chase in any context, anywhere.

Spikymike

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on July 7, 2017

Juan and Rob,
As regards the MC/KpK text I don't find the references back to the strategic considerations of Marx or Lenin in those very different historical periods overly helpful in orientating the analysis and approach of pro-revolutionaries today particularly helpful. However I'm otherwise sympathetic to the overall politics of those communist groups and their rejection, along with many others on this site, of the claimed anti-capitalist and revolutionary credentials of the PKK inspired Kurdish movement in Syria in the context of inter-imperialism, and moreover especially it's promotion by the Left (alongside other variants of Bookchnite 'autonomy' strategies) as a model for the rest of the global working class and struggling humanity in general. I think Giles Dauve gets a better handle on the significance of such movements (see www.troploin.fr/node/83) and have argued that point of view with Flint and others on numerous other older discussion threads, which is why I have refrained so far from posting this time round. I suspect I'm not the only long-time supporter and poster on libcom who has held back on this occasion.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 6, 2017

Thank you, Juan, good idea! ( https://libcom.org/library/rojava-revolution-reading-guide )

Khawaga: "I really don't know what happens in Rojava. Given how little I know about what goes on there it is hard for me to make heads or tails about what is going on"

Khawaga, I saw you 2 years ago, in July 2015, in the same case ( https://libcom.org/library/rojava-revolution-reading-guide ) and you really still don't know what happens in Rojava? You know what?! First abolish your dis-liking, down-voting, arrogant, authoritarian, materialistic, petty, narcissistic, treacherous, lying, hypocritical little marx in your head and than you'll understand whats happening there. lol. Take it easy! lol!

Here, please: Two guides which will help you to start anew into a new free world - also a marx-free world lol:

https://libcom.org/library/anarchism-reading-guide

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_computing

With <3

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

Rob Ray

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on July 5, 2017

Man rafi's so cool, I wish everyone was more like rafi so we could have the true anarchies rather than this whole people thinking different stuff from one another and all really being Marxists apart from rafi and people who agree with rafi :(.

Seriously though rafi, you're sounding like a bit of a dick mate, maybe key it down a touch — you can argue your case without flinging poorly-judged ad hominems about.

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 5, 2017

mikail firtinaci

https://www.nso-sy.com/

Why not just quote Yeni Söz and cut out the middle man.

"10 years old” out of the town due to fear of being recruited by YPJ."

No one has time for this bullshit.

All the things you could be doing and you are instead spreading the most blatant nationalist bourgeoisie lies against the YPJ because you can't seem to get your ideology to square with what needs to be done in Erdoganistan.

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 5, 2017

Khawaga, I saw you 2 years ago, in July 2015, in the same case ( https://libcom.org/library/rojava-revolution-reading-guide ) and you really still don't know what happens in Rojava? You know what?! First abolish your dis-liking, down-voting, arrogant, authoritarian, materialistic, petty, narcissistic, treacherous, lying, hypocritical little marx in your head and than you'll understand whats happening there. lol. Take it easy! lol!

So nothing has changed at all in two years? It's not worse or better? Are you even trying to not come off as a teenage edge lord?

mikail firtinaci

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on July 5, 2017

All the things you could be doing and you are instead spreading the most blatant nationalist bourgeoisie lies against the YPJ because you can't seem to get your ideology to square with what needs to be done in Erdoganistan.

Flint;
Funny you say that. My friends and comrades are put in jails and beaten by Erdogan's police, while you exalt your adolescent fantasies about nationalist armed struggle, irresponsibly advertise death and encourage young western kids to go and die in Rojava.

Also; prove that PKK/YPG is not recruiting children of poor families and I will apologize.

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 5, 2017

BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOING!

The mighty Turkish left communists shall leap into activity just behind the CHP!

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 5, 2017

Shit man, 10 year old YPJ recruits. I expect more honesty from some gray wolves. Laughable.

mikail firtinaci

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on July 5, 2017

BUT WHAT ARE YOU DOING!

The mighty Turkish left communists shall leap into activity just behind the CHP!

Show any single sentence even slightly hinting that I supported CHP or any other Turkish nationalist party and I will leave political struggle altogether.

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 5, 2017

Behind as in after it takes action. Not behind as in support of. I know you support nothing.

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 5, 2017

But at the very least, you could stop spreading lies that the YPJ is conscripting 10 year old girls in Afrin.

Afrin today:

mikail firtinaci

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on July 5, 2017

Behind as in after it takes action. Not behind as in support of. I know you support nothing.

...said who defines his own activities as "masturbatory, adolescent outbursts"...

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 5, 2017

mikail firtinaci

Behind as in after it takes action. Not behind as in support of. I know you support nothing.

...said who defines his own activities as "masturbatory, adolescent outbursts"...

10 year old YPJ conscripts in Afrin. Just admit that you know you are spreading lies. Or do you honestly believe that shit? Frankly, I don't know which is worst.

mikail firtinaci

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on July 5, 2017

I would not post it if I did not believe in it. This is not the first time PKK/YPG recruited children to fight either. So, you don't believe me? Well, do your own research then.

mikail firtinaci

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on July 5, 2017

These are from this year:

PKK killed a music teacher in Batman:

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/young-music-teacher-killed-in-pkk-attack-in-turkeys-batman.aspx?PageID=238&NID=114170&NewsCatID=341

PKK took a public teacher in Dersim hostage:

http://www.ogretmenlerhaber.com/gundem/pkk-ya-cagri-necmettin-ogretmeni-serbest-birakin-h7646.html

Teachers are working in Kurdish towns are considered as state agents and killed by the PKK several times in the past. Most of these teachers are working in public schools, receive very low wages and in most cases assigned to their posts by the government whether they want it or not...

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

Alf

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Alf on July 5, 2017

The fence-sitters on this issue (Ed, Khawaga and Rob) have, as far as I know, been opposed to national liberation movements up till now. I don't know to what extent they would have seen this as being based on class principles, or in other words, on what the workers' movement has learned from repeated experience and suffering over a very long time. The article and several posters have made it clear that the PKK and its affiliates have aligned themselves with and acted on behalf of a number of imperialist powers, not least the USA and Russia. This is something that has not only been repeated again and again in the history of Kurdish nationalism, but in the history of all nationalisms since the first world war at least (cf Rosa Luxemburg's Junius Pamphlet). The question for the fence sitters is then: why is the current version of the Kurdish national movement different from all its previous incarnations? Or is it rather, as Ed seems to argue, that the forces arrayed against the PKK are so malign that it's necessary and justified to choose them as a lesser evil (making a comparison with the anti-Nazi resistance in world war two)?

mikail firtinaci

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on July 5, 2017

S. Artesian

Also; prove that PKK/YPG is not recruiting children of poor families and I will apologize.

That's not how we work this Mikhail. Really tough to prove a negative. You, or the article you cite, asserted that ten year olds were being recruited. You or the article have the obligation when challenged to produce the source, the evidence.

No Artesian this is exactly how this works. I am slandered several times for being a Turkish nationalist and nobody asked any evidence. Now I demand the evidence. So someone should tell me why I am always wrong and PKK propagandists are always right. Why their sources are legitimate, right and trustworthy and mines are state propaganda.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

[Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

Sike

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Sike on July 6, 2017

mikail firtinaci

So someone should tell me why I am always wrong and PKK propagandists are always right. Why their sources are legitimate, right and trustworthy and mines are state propaganda.

Mikail, not everyone here thinks that you are wrong and the Rojava partisans right but in the future it might be helpful to provide some corroborating evidence (a link, or something) when making any specific accusations. I'm not saying that you are lying or anything; for all I know you have heard or otherwise know of specific instances in which the YPG/J has recruited ten year old kids. However, without any corroboration how can we be expected to know if it's a fact or just based upon a rumor? Besides, the well corroborated YPG/J recruitment of 13 and 14 year old kids is bad enough already.

Red Marriott

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on July 6, 2017

My impressions of Rojava are that there is a degree of self-managed co-operative/kibbutz-type organisation of agriculture & light industry – how much, relative to the wider society, seems to be rarely described but it seems a minority. There is also some democratic local governance – how much dominated by local parties and how much a wider grassroots movement is not too clear. There is also a high command of those who negotiate in the international political arena with imperial super-powers for military co-operation. The dominant political/economic voices – KSC, Tev-Dem etc – seem to have, according to their own statements, a fairly standard social democratic market-based economic program and a political goal of regional autonomy within the umbrella of a larger nation-state system. Eg, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Rojava

None of that, in my eyes, convinces me of the existence of the libertarian socialist revolution it’s often claimed to be. But Rojava supporters (though not usually as idiotic as rafi dawn here, who provides no evidence to back up his slanders) are often remarkably intolerant and arrogant of any critical comments. And we see here wheeled out again the ‘internet armchair critics’ allegation – as if supporters from afar are any less remote and ‘armchair-bound’ than critics. Typing such petty smears from afar puts one on the frontline of nothing but a partisan ideological propaganda campaign.

Mikail has repeatedly been criticised for supposed deliberate lies etc – but I’ve never seen anyone factually prove any such claim against him. But I have seen his critic Flint, 3 times so far, use a smear tactic of claiming that some Rojava critics are sock puppets; yet, when challenged to provide any evidence he fails to and then deletes his accusations. As I said in the comments on another Rojava thread;

Here we go again; Flint is trying – for at least the 3rd time - his usual smear tactic against opponents. [...] But Flint has some history of trying to smear those who disagree with his interpretation of events – for his other two attempts, see;
https://libcom.org/forums/general/ak-press-says-michael-schmidt-fascist-25092015?page=27#comment-570246
RM on Schmidt thread

Flint has since deleted some of his accusations above, both here and on the Rojava thread - which, if anything, makes his behaviour even more devious as he wasn't even willing to either stand by his unfounded claims nor explicitly retract them.

When challenged to provide evidence for his attempted smears of opponents he failed to provide any and instead deleted his accusations on 2 threads. All of which might cast more doubt on how he deals with ‘facts’ and differences of opinion than those he tries to discredit with his unsubstantiated smears. Yet he accuses here others of trying to “mislead”. If you have the evidence of sock puppets, Flint, show it here. Otherwise stop stooping to such low devious tactics. Or are you just gonna not provide evidence and delete your attempted smears yet again? https://libcom.org/news/chameleons-rojava-23092016?page=1

Flint provided no evidence for the above assertions. So I don’t see why Flint’s claims should be assumed to be more reliable – in fact his past record suggests it is himself who is more likely to be less honest. I also don’t see how the photos of Afrin demonstrations he posts in response to Mikail’s links refute Mikail’s evidence at all. If anyone wants to throw around accusations of lying then let’s see some hard factual proof, otherwise we can assume it’s a dubious allegation or another attempted smear unfortunately quite typical of some Rojava supporters posting here.

Jim

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Jim on July 6, 2017

A liberal (?) group in Raqqa have reported that the SDF (which contains the YPG) have been using conscription very recently.

https://twitter.com/Raqqa_SL/status/882389003676393475

Rob Ray

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Rob Ray on July 6, 2017

The fence-sitters on this issue (Ed, Khawaga and Rob) have, as far as I know, been opposed to national liberation movements up till now.

Still am, as far as their capacity to produce genuine long-term revolutionary change goes. I'm not under any illusions that the ultimate product of what's going on will be some sort of communist utopia (more likely just a heavily damaged effort at State Socialism followed by its collapse and integration into capitalist business as usual, given past evidence of similar projects). And if anyone starts bollocking on about the specialness of Kurdish culture in its ability to produce progressive outcomes I'll be heckling with the best of them.

That said, I'm generally of the opinion that war is hell, bad shit happens on all sides every time (I mean, of course PKK fighters will have done bad shit, every fighting force in history has drawn bastards who do bad shit, that's war ffs) and mouthing off on "the nature of the living struggle" thousands of miles away with half-understood opinions on a wildly complex subject like some back-seat cunt is about the least helpful thing I could be doing.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 6, 2017

YO!, Khawaga, so see you in two years again! good luck!

And dear bashers, decriers and fence sitters: Caution! That kind of the so called karls-negativity and too much sitting on hard but thin fences causes cancer and a strong pain in the ass.

Please sit down for a while in a comfortable armchair and have a break and think and read e.g. this book - a REAL pleasure:

https://libcom.org/library/nationalism-culture-rudolf-rocker

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 6, 2017

Jim

A liberal (?) group in Raqqa have reported that the SDF (which contains the YPG) have been using conscription very recently.

https://twitter.com/Raqqa_SL/status/882389003676393475

Rojava uses conscription. Most conscripts go to the Hêzên Xweparastinê HXP (not the YPG or YPJ). The best report I've seen on conscription is dated, but its this one: Military Service, Mandatory Self-Defence Duty and Recruitment
to the YPG
, Danish Immigration Service, Copenhagen, 26 February 2015

RaqqaSL is not liberal. They are staunchly anti-PYD.

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 6, 2017

Red Marriot, the "lies" you are trying to catch me in was speculation that some of the accounts are most likely socks of the same poster: antiwar/guerre de classe. But I honestly don't give a shit about socks. Whatever.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 6, 2017

Hey, S. Artesian, I was talking to Khawaga. I don't promise anything. Right now i am working on an anti-marxist link-list and it'll be a pleasure for me to share it with you: here a foretaste:

https://libcom.org/library/pages-socialist-history-teachings-acts-social-democracy-warlaam-tcherkesoff

Pages of Socialist History: Teachings and Acts of Social Democracy - Warlaam Tcherkesoff

In this book published in 1902, anarchist-communist Warlaam Tcherkesoff, a fervent anti-Marxist, criticises the doctrine of Social Democracy and attacks Marx and Engels, showing the "utopian" roots of "Scientific Socialism", contesting the dialetical method and the theory of the concentration of capital, and even saying that the origin of the "Manifesto of the Communist Party" is the "Manifeste de la Démocratie au Dix-Neuvièm Siècle", by Victor Consideránt, a Fourierist.

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AndrewF on July 6, 2017

mikail firtinaci

No Artesian this is exactly how this works. I am slandered several times for being a Turkish nationalist and nobody asked any evidence. Now I demand the evidence. So someone should tell me why I am always wrong and PKK propagandists are always right. Why their sources are legitimate, right and trustworthy and mines are state propaganda.

I certainly consider you influenced by Turkish nationalism. I don't think you have much justification for shouting about slanders, you are forever calling other people here nationalists - much stronger than influenced by.

In terms of this post the problem is very clear. Well maybe not very so let me explain.

First off there are many 'human rights' pages about Syria. Basically all sides in the conflict run such pages because its how you gain diplomatic advantage. For the worst of the players, Assad, Nusra, Turkey, the aim is to sew enough confusions so that people throw up their hands, declare it as far too complex and sit on the fence. We've all seen the 'Canadian journalist reveals X' videos being posted by out local leftist Assadist fanboy.

The problem for an outsider looking in can appear impossible. How are you to tell if a page is genuine or simply meant to sew FUD? It's all the more tricky because the problems reported on are real, the YPG was accepting underage recruits, it does require one person from every family to serve in the local militia.

BTW If you worry about who will clean the sewers under anarchism how about who will spend hour and hours at the roadside trying to tell if the incoming car or truck has two tonnes of explosives, a load of ball bearings and a nervous driver whose finger is on the detonation switch. Whenever they fail to detect (and I'd presume when you detect you also die) then a load of people get killed in the village, town or city that is the target. Shit job, but somebody has to do it and sharing it amongst everyone might be the fairest way.

But how do you tell a human rights organisation from a 'human rights' organisation if you know little and have none of the languages?. Sometimes its not so hard. You click through and you see what that page reports on over time. After all if its genuine than it will have at least some negative reports about all sides (even the YPG, see above).

Applying that test to your source which claims to cover Northern Syria we discover that apparently the only bad people in Northern Syria are the YPG. Not whatever Nusra is calling itself the days, despite their fondness for posting videos of themselves beheading children. Not the Turkish army. . Hardly even ISIS. Nope the only people running around North Syria doing bad stuff are the YPG/SDF. I did this exercise when you first posted the link when there was nothing else. I've just checked back and of the 12 headline stories there is now one about the Afrin protest march and another about the Turkish artillery bombardment, however both these are huge stories that could hardly be credibly ignored - whats missing are the FSA / Nusra conscripting type etc stories .

Now if I can spot the problem with this from Ireland then you should certainly be able to spot it from Turkey. That you instead circulate the stories, without warning this problem exists, is the action of someone under the influence of Turkish nationalism. A leftist as well no doubt but you've allowed your dislike of the YPG to overcome your analysis. I mean you are fond of calling other leftists nationalists so Its not like you refuse to recognise the possibility that someone might say one thing but their actions reveal another.

OK so now we know the source is dodgy lets look at the story again. It might be an invention but I'm going to suggest rather than dismissing it we look at it again and wonder what the story might be. Whats not being said?

You might start off with the ages. What use would a 10 year old girl be to the YPG? Or even a 12 year old? Armies that actually use child soldiers tend to conscript 15 year old boys not 10 year old girls.

We have an additional data point. We know that although the YPJ have said they no longer recruit women under 17 (I think that is the cut off age) they make an exception for women who need to escape their homes. These exceptions can become members but don't serve in any combat role. What are they escaping, well we don't know but we can perhaps imagine why a girl of 10 or 12 might want to flee the family home, particularly in a society where honour killings and arranged marriages are not fully eradicated. Rereading the story in that light and we see a story where a father is saying his daughters won't obey him and the YPG is protecting them by taking them into its ranks.

This is even in the text "he refused to let his daughters join “Women’s Protection Units YPJ” after PYD gunmen convinced them to join." "members were able to convince the girls to join YPG" "she was shocked by her daughters talking about the Democratic Nation philosophy and the importance of resistance and sacrifice for the homeland and when the mother asked them where they heard it they replied that 3 members of YPG told them about this." The article even ends with the demand "to make it clear to SDF that child recruitment is illegal even if the kids are not doing military missions" which seems to acknowledge what I said above about policy.

Is my interpretation correct? There is no way of knowing but its not unreasonable and if I work that out from Ireland someone in Turkey should surely be able to manage to do so. To be fair I have the advantage of earlier solidarity work with the Zapatistas where young women and girls could be in similar situations and where a young women also can't flee the family home in safety and if she does it will be assumed she has become a sex worker - something that means she can't safely return. I also live in a country where until the 1960s such women and girls were very often imprisoned in religious institutions called Magedeline Laundries, a sort of state sanctioned equivalent of honour killings. It was very often their families who put them there because they could not be 'controlled'. Sometimes women escaped and the Irish CP even helped smuggle some out of the country.

This incidentally is probably why the EZLN, PKK and YPJ are so sex negative. In all three volunteers are required to abstain from sexual relationships, a rather enormous demand for 17-30 year olds but probably the only way many families can accept women joining the ranks.

Lastly even if I'm right is this some sort of ideal solution - allowing young girls as non combatants into a militia. It's not, its good that real NGOs continue to put pressure on the PYD, its even good that this sort of report can appear even if perhaps the source & spin is biased - I'd be worried if it was impossible for them to operate. But can you dismiss the SDF on the basis of this as no better than anyone else. No.

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AndrewF on July 6, 2017

Also I looked at that link you posted as the PKK killing a piano teacher, the report actually says she was killed by (cross fire?) when they were ambushing a mayor. That's pretty dishonest framing to put it mildly, not least when as we all know the state side always gets to decided whose bullets hit who in any such crossfire situation. Note the passive 'Gunshots' not attributed to anyone in particular in the report, the Mayor firing back? (he would be armed), the PKK attackers? In any case the music teacher was clearly a bystander rather than target. Hardly it appears none of the attackers survived to give their version but then they seldom do these days.

"Two militants first opened fire on the car of the mayor of Kozluk that was being driven by a relative. Gun shots, however, killed a 22-year-old music teacher Şenay Aybüke Yalçın and injured another civilian"

Again when we say you are influenced by Turkish nationalism this sort of framing is precisely why. It's not accidental. I also don't think you've made a single post about the Turkish states war on the Kurdish areas that does not frame this as somehow the fault of the PKK, e.g. from last year "In the recent urban warfare process in north Kurdistan (southeast Turkey), PKK pushed to the front the poorest and the most desperate urban Kurdish youth to their destruction at the hands of the state, while the daily lives of middle class Kurds in cities like Diyarbakir remained, depressed as they were, continued with little disruption."

I mean that's quite incredible framing for an operation in which the Turkish military killed 600 and levelled entire neighbourhoods in response to what was essentially a state provoked and ill conceived youth rebellion that the more experienced layers thought shouldn't have happened.

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AndrewF on July 6, 2017

And finally my above posts illustrate the problem. In order to answer two short lazy link posts I'd to spend a couple of hours researching and explaining. And tomorrow there will be another lazy link of similar content and the usual down votes.

If it goes well then the best that can be expected is over time some people declare they have moved from being hostile too sitting on the fence or being a bit more open. Does it make sense to spend time here, or to spend it elsewhere where people are looking for ways to positively contribute?

Flint spent an enormous amount of time last year doing an amazing job - that did shift some people a little. But not to the extent that they have taken up answering the lazy link posts. Maybe an up vote or two can be expected.

(There are personal reasons why I am particularly frustrated at the moment which I'm not at liberty to explain, it will probably become clearer is some weeks).

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 6, 2017

Rafi: doesn't understand the difference between Marx's economic analysis and his shit politics. Or: he doesn't understand the difference between Leninism and the critique of political economy.

On the fence-sitting thing: while PKK/YPG is clearly a nationalist organization that is involved in an imperialist war that cannot really have any good outcome, what I am somewhat supporting is as Red Marriot explained that in

Rojava are that there is a degree of self-managed co-operative/kibbutz-type organisation of agriculture & light industry – how much, relative to the wider society, seems to be rarely described but it seems a minority. There is also some democratic local governance – how much dominated by local parties and how much a wider grassroots movement is not too clear. ... The dominant political/economic voices – KSC, Tev-Dem etc – seem to have, according to their own statements, a fairly standard social democratic market-based economic program and a political goal of regional autonomy within the umbrella of a larger nation-state system. Eg, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Rojava

However limited this may be, at least this is somewhat of an expression of people trying to take control over their own lives and doing something differently politically and socially. Some of the stuff I've read or heard about this is really promising, then there are other accounts that is much more critical in what has been accomplished and the degree of actual involvement of the people living there. Whereas I would be much more critical of even this before, I've come to a realisation in the last few years that whatever it is we've been doing, it hasn't worked, hence I am more open to projects/struggles that I would've have been quick to dismiss before. In this sense, Rojava is not that different from Occupy to me (in the sense that I had issues with it, but I thought some good shit came out of it).

What really puts me off of Rojava, however is the incessant focus on the war. This comes from a lot of the supporters who will focus on the "heroic" struggle etc. Sure, I completely understand the necessity to fight in the situation they're in and I even understand why they would seek support from imperialist powers, but a lot of supporters and quite a few people who has gone there seems to focus way way too much on the war side of things.

So to the more positive side of the fence I am sitting on is experiment in a different social organization of production and on the definitively shitty side is war, nationalism and imperialism. . I've ended up sitting on the fence from what I've learned about the social aspect. I still got no love for the PKK and I think that the armed struggle/civil war will in the end undermine everything else. Perhaps schizophrenic describes my attitude better than fence sitting.

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AndrewF on July 6, 2017

I'm no fan of the war either, I think militarism always destroys revolutions over time. However in Rojava there is no choice and in Turkey its the PKK that has pushed the peace process for two decades now. It's very clear they would embrace a ceasefire tomorrow but Erdogan needs the war to shore up his increasingly unpopular presidency.

Sike

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Sike on July 6, 2017

rafi dawn

Right now i am working on an anti-marxist link-list and it'll be a pleasure for me to share it with you: here a foretaste:

Interesting.

Raffi, judging by your posts you undoubtedly have the highest regard for the democratic-confederalist movement in Rojava. Yet, by your own admission you "HATEmarxists. Well, what are your thoughts on the MLKP? They are Marxist's (Marxist-Leninist's) and certainly no one can accuse the MLKP of being fence-sitters when it comes to Rojava. The MLKP has been there for Rojava all along and have seemingly put far more into the cause of Rojava then have most anarchist organizations. By saying this let it be clear that I'm not necessarily endorsing the democratic-confederalist movement, Marxist-Leninism, or the MLKP, I'm just stating what appears to be true.

By the way, regardless of whatever thoughts one may have about Rojava and Marxist-Leninism the interview with the MLKP that I linked to is informative and well worth a read.

Red Marriott

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on July 6, 2017

Flint

Red Marriot, the "lies" you are trying to catch me in was speculation that some of the accounts are most likely socks of the same poster: antiwar/guerre de classe. But I honestly don't give a shit about socks. Whatever.

3 times you accused different posters of being sock puppets - each time, when asked for evidence to support those claims, you failed to produce any. Each time time when challenged you then deleted your claims and said you didn't care about sock puppets, just as you're saying now. That is either rampant paranoia - for which seeking verifiable facts are a good antidote - or a smear tactic, for which facts are inconvenient. Either way, it doesn't suggest the trust or credibility you seem to expect of others.

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 6, 2017

Red Marriott

Flint

Red Marriot, the "lies" you are trying to catch me in was speculation that some of the accounts are most likely socks of the same poster: antiwar/guerre de classe. But I honestly don't give a shit about socks. Whatever.

3 times you accused different posters of being sock puppets - each time, when asked for evidence to support those claims, you failed to produce any. Each time time when challenged you then deleted your claims and said you didn't care about sock puppets, just as you're saying now. That is either rampant paranoia - for which seeking verifiable facts are a good antidote - or a smear tactic, for which facts are inconvenient. Either way, it doesn't suggest the trust or credibility you seem to expect of others.

I don't really care if it socks or a few people who have unity in their opinions. I'm not going to acknowledge your further attempts to bring this up. Its clearly all you got. Its sadly pathetic.

Anyway, I've wasted enough time here debating whether the YPJ in Afrin is conscripting 10 year old girls.

baboon

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by baboon on July 6, 2017

I don't think that there's much argument that the YPG, like all imperialist armies, recruits child soldiers and its American and British masters will be quite happy about this and won't bother too much about checking birth certificates. The Kurdish supporters on here cheering on imperialist war and a stalinist form of nationalism are reflected in the mainstream British media of Channel 4 and the BBC who pose it as a "liberating" force rather than the component of inter-imperialist butchery that it is. That Kurdish nationalism will provide cannon-fodder for its own squalid ambitions has been demonstrated time and again throughout history and in this region now, in these wars, we've seen it "support" and take orders from, the US, the British, the Russians and the butcher Assad.

As to the position of the "fence-sitters", I don't understand their ambiguity. The "lesser-evil" argument doesn't really make sense when the "greater evil" (Isis in this case) has itself been created by the "lesser evil" which in this case is major elements of western imperialism and their Gulf allies. And this war will move to another, more destructive stage when Isis is military defeated.

Perspectives for the Middle East: httphttp://en.internationalism.org/icconline/201706/14336/make-america-great-again-means-further-war-and-instability:

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 6, 2017

As to the position of the "fence-sitters", I don't understand their ambiguity. The "lesser-evil" argument doesn't really make sense when the "greater evil" (Isis in this case) has itself been created by the "lesser evil" which in this case is major elements of western imperialism and their Gulf allies. And this war will move to another, more destructive stage when Isis is military defeate

That's a complete mischaracterisation of this position, which doesn't have to be about a lesser evil. While I can't speak for others, my fence sitting has nothing to do with whether the PKK, Daesh or American or Russian imperialism are lesser/greater evils.

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AndrewF on July 6, 2017

The trial of HDP co-chair Figen Yuksekdag started earlier this week, the prosecution are seeking a 83 year jail terms. The EU Socialist bloc had delegates there to observe the trial, there were expelled from then courtroom and then prevented speaking to the press.

Figen told the court "They demand 100 years! If I had more lifetimes, I'd still do the same things. We've a cause of democracy & peace, worthy of a century."

She's the co-chair of the 3rd largest party at the time of the last elections stripped of her seat earlier this year by the court. The chair is also up on similar charges, they've even banned one of his poems apparently.

Added for context as I suspect no one is really following the scale of repression anymore but its essential to understanding everything else going on

Red Marriott

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on July 6, 2017

Flint

I don't really care if it socks or a few people who have unity in their opinions.

So it doesn't matter to you whether the dishonesty you accused them of is true or not, if they just dare to disagree with you they're still equally fair game for your smear tactics. If you 'really don't care' stop trying to smear people just for disagreeing with you.
Flint

I'm not going to acknowledge your further attempts to bring this up. Its clearly all you got.

I got facts - from your own statements - to back up what I say. What you got? You've never provided any facts to back up your attempted smears. Nor for your claims on this thread of people lying. Fact.

Flint

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Flint on July 6, 2017

Red Marriott, you would have made a mediocre Dungeons and Dragons rules lawyer.

I can't prove or disprove whether or not someone is using multiple aliases on the internet. For libcom, maybe moderators could, but maybe they've even set up the software not to track that and it could still be circumvented. Most everyone here is using aliases. You know all this.

I was quite willing to drop the matter, but you bring it up every fucking time I post something So really, fuck off. I wish I could block you so I wouldn't rise to your bait. I'll just have to be more disciplined with myself. Atleast I can block on reddit, which is far more audience than arguing with the half dozen people who might congratulate you on your stunning rhetorical defense of the true proletarian revolution.

You obviously see this as some sort of way to get me to shut up because you don't like the more reasoned arguments I've given to whatever pet strain of communism you think I'm the enemy by my reporting of whats been going on with Rojava. Normally, I'd not let you have your way and would try to be patient like Andrew and soldier on with discussion. My life now, though, is that I don't have the luxury to engage in polemics with dogmatic contrarians whose world view is so dismal their fantasies can't even be categorized as utopian.

Enjoy your play pen.

Maybe the moderators will do me a favor and ban my account for incivility because it seems clear based on the terrible level of discussion on this topic here that my efforts were mostly wasted.

So yeah, fuck off.

Red Marriott

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on July 6, 2017

Flint, earlier

I'm not going to acknowledge your further attempts to bring this up.

But you did.

I was quite willing to drop the matter, but you bring it up every fucking time I post something

Untrue; check the links I provided - do you ever check facts before making your false allegations? For someone who takes it upon yourself to provide so much info you don't seem too concerned about checking if your statements are accurate. I mentioned it in May & Dec 2015 and in Feb 2017 at the time you made your smears, and today when you were calling people liars but not providing any evidence. Since May 2015 you've posted 100s of times without me commenting - so again, you're inventing claims out of thin air.

And no, I'm not trying to shut you or anyone else up - unlike some, I don't generally have a tantrum when people post stuff I don't always agree with or ask me to prove my claims. You claim that pointing out your repeated use of a smear tactic is really some ideological rivalry or aggression - again that's fantasy and seemingly an attempt to distract from the undeniable fact of your smears. I could share your views on Rojava 110% and still rightly criticise your devious smear tactics. You can't expect to get away with shouting "sock" & "liar" every time someone doesn't toe your pro-Rojava line.

Spikymike

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on July 7, 2017

Andrew advises caution when reading and using ''news'' on the battles raging in Syria and other areas of the 'middle-east' which is a useful reminder. In the same spirit I value the 'reporting' of Flint and a few others but apply the same caution when it is supplied by open supporters of the claimed 'Rojava Revolution' and given our clearly different understanding of the operation and interrelationship of nationalism and imperialism in modern global capitalism.

Alf

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Alf on July 7, 2017

The lesser evil question was directed (by me) mainly at Ed who wrote:

So that's how I think of it: historical precedents to Rojava might not be revolution but WW2 anti-Nazi resistance or even the fucking Mujahideen ('but of the Left!' wink ). Not sure if that makes it worth supporting but at least feels a more honest appraisal of what's going on. Might be wrong though.

Supporting the anti-Nazi resistance - if by that we mean the patriotic fronts backed by Allied imperialism - is surely a case of supporting the "lesser evil", but I posed it as a question so that Ed could make his position a bit clearer.

AndrewF

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by AndrewF on July 7, 2017

Spikymike

Andrew advises caution when reading and using ''news'' on the battles raging in Syria and other areas of the 'middle-east' which is a useful reminder. In the same spirit I value the 'reporting' of Flint and a few others but apply the same caution when it is supplied by open supporters of the claimed 'Rojava Revolution' and given our clearly different understanding of the operation and interrelationship of nationalism and imperialism in modern global capitalism.

The difference is if you go back through Flint's report that he regularly gave descriptions of what news sources were and how that might impact on the story being reported. He never did the link and run you are applauding here.

Bias isn't the issue, using based sources to delibretly mislead is. Doing it over and over should lead even those who identify with your bias to say enough.

Spikymike

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on July 7, 2017

Andrew, I'm not sure who you think I am ''applauding here''. If you are referring to mikail, I sometimes agree with some of his comments but I reserve judgement on other of the more contentious news reports on specific points they have raised in these discussions. Maybe you mean my brief comments on the MC/KpK text itself but I fail to see the connection.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

mikail firtinaci

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by mikail firtinaci on July 7, 2017

* About the recruitment of children once again:

First of all, I am extremely cautious when I share any articles or links. I don't usually share news if I don't see them first shared by people who are critical of islamists and the Turkish state. And that particular article was self-explanatory. It is a report about a very particular case, full of details and written by a journalist that reports regularly from the region.

Could that specific story be wrong? Maybe!

Does PKK recruit child soldiers? Definitely!

This is from a fairly pro-HDP or at least liberal journalist (Amberin Zaman) who many Kurdish nationalists sympathize with and the Turkish nationalists tend to dislike:

Rojava has become the laboratory for these ideas, poached in part from late American libertarian socialist Murray Bookchin. Yet for all its talk of diversity, Rojava is unabashedly Kurdish, its leadership is top-down and Kurds like Yusuf with PKK backgrounds mostly call the shots. Iso, the reporter, said Yusuf is a fairly big fish. His assertion was borne out a week later when I saw her on television reading out the “charter” of the Democratic Federal System of Northern Syria.

I met Yusuf for the first time in Iso's modest, one-story house on a narrow street in the heart of Derik. It was decked out with Christmas lights and an artificial tree that go on and off with the electricity. Yusuf wore a big smile and was flanked by two girls carrying Kalashnikov rifles. One of the girls had large, dark eyes and a pale, moonlike face. She looked no older than 12, but Yusuf told me that she is 15 and that her “code name” is “Agiri,” which means “fiery” in Kurmanji. Agiri ran away from home to join the female unit of the YPG. The adolescent was assigned to Yusuf’s security because she was too young to be on the front lines. Apparently warnings from international rights groups to keep minors off the battlefield are having an effect. Yusuf waved the girls out of the room and tucked her legs under her, and our conversation began.

Read more: http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/01/northern-syria-kurds-rojava-ypg-turkey-kurdistan.html#ixzz4m6gj283l

I don't exactly know when the Author was in Rojava - Probably late 2016/early 2017. But this is one of the few recent reports one can find about the situation in Rojava by a person who is not a PKK ally.

Now is it OK to recruit children to an army if they won't engage in actual fighting? No, it is not.

Do armies and paramilitary groups liberate people by recruiting them? No, they don't.

Do we really know if these children engage in actual fighting? No we don't. But PKK needs soldiers and the few adventurist misanthropes from the west, who want a free licence to kill in the human hunting grounds of the middle east are not enough to soldier the ranks of any military force, be that the IS, the Syrian Army or the PKK.

Plus, the pictures of young women soldiers on stickers and posters are plastered all over the Western cities. But this militarist propaganda, this disgusting colonialist romanticism can be openly and shamelessly expressed, because it is assumed by some naive people that women's recruitment actually means the death of patriarchy.

But the truth is different. For several different reasons the sunni Kurdish (and Turkish) population in the ME has a very patriarchal culture. Young working class women (especially in cities) are oppressed and their families can turn their lives into a living hell. That's why many Kurdish women joined the PKK in the past, in the 1990s. Here is a slightly long but an excellent excerpt from one of the best books (Aliza Marcus, Blood and Belief, p.174) on the subject:

many young women simply saw the PKK as an acceptable
form of escape from their day-to-day lives. In a society in which most
girls were not educated beyond primary school and many were married
before age 15—and then to a man picked by their family—joining
the PKK might be the only way to take control of the direction of
their lives.

“Because we have a closed social structure,” explained a city official
in the southeastern city Batman, “when young girls are being
pressured by their families, they see going to the mountains as a way
to express themselves.”27

A Kurdish father could block his daughter from working, from
walking to the store alone, from going to high school, or even from
wearing pants, but it was not easy to criticize her decision to fight for
Kurdish freedom. Doing so could raise questions about a family’s real
loyalties, which in turn could put the family at odds with the PKK.
There also was the chance that such comments could raise questions
inside the PKK about the loyalties of the girl who had joined, possibly
endangering her life. Besides, the PKK was said to protect a girl’s virginity
with the same zeal as her family, something that helped shore
up support for the PKK even among the most conservative Kurdish
families.

One young woman, let us call her Zilan, joined the PKK out of a
Turkish university in 1992. The next time she saw her family was four
years later in Europe, where she had been sent by the PKK. What
Zilan’s relatives really wanted to know, before everything else, was
whether she was still a virgin. And Zilan very proudly could assure
them that she was.

PKK is not against patriarchy. It situates itself inside the patriarchal social relations. Rather than fighting the patriarchal family structure, it manipulates it for its own advantage. Having gained a total territorial control in Rojava, there is no one to oppose PKK to recruit young people & children now. And patriarchal patriotism ideologically legitimizes this.

* About the killings of Turkish civilians in Kurdistan and western Turkey:

Historically both the Turkish state and the PKK targeted civilians during the civil war in 1990s. After his capture Ocalan brokered a dirty deal with the state and the PKK entered into a period of inertia. In early 2010s the PKK gained its ground again with the tacit approval of the state during the calm days of the so-called "peace process". But the process collapsed due to the Syrian civil war. Both the Turkish government and the PKK had vital interests there and they both started to compete to fill the void left by the collapsing Syrian regime.

At this point both the Turkish state and the PKK resumed their old habits of terrorizing the civilians. In the latest phase of the escalation the State razed whole towns in Kurdistan and destroyed homes and families. The PKK for its own part also started bombing civilians in the west. In those discriminate attacks even individuals who were against the state repression in Kurdistan were killed.

Now in the particular case of the music teacher who was killed by the PKK in Kurdistan A. F. claims that I deliberately aimed to mislead people, because the teacher herself was not targeted, but she died because she was in the same car with the daughter of a state official. So, he claims that it is collateral damage and not the deliberate killing of a teacher. This is a totally inhumane argument and it makes me furious to answer that.

First of all, recently there was a huge debate in the little Turkish/Kurdish left about that particular killing. Some on the left argued that the murdered teacher shouldn't have been in Kurdistan. They claimed that her name sounded like a typical Turkish/conservative name, so her family was probably nationalist. All the old arguments about the Turkish teachers in the region being state agents assigned to assimilate the Kurdish children have resurfaced. So the killing was attempted to be legitimized by the pro-PKK people. Maybe I should have explained all this background, but it doesn't matter. Targeted or not, whenever PKK kills or abducts a worker who came from western turkey, it always has an excuse: a teacher may be the state's ideological instrument, a construction worker may be building something that the army can use, etc. etc.

The problem here is that nationalism is stronger and more pronounced today than ever, even though the conflict is not very intense. Even in the most violent days of the civil war in 1990s the Turkish state tried to conceal the burning of the villages and the Kurdish nationalists were embarrassed by the teacher killings. Now, similar things are happening, everyone knows about them and neither side is sorry about them!

* About the nationalism slander against me:

As a non-Kurdish shouldn't I focus more on the violence of the Turkish state?

Yes, and I do that. Since the time I first met with radical politics, I joined all the demonstrations against the wars of the Turkish state that I could. I actively took part, wrote, distributed leaflets against the military operations in Kurdistan, even when the Turkish leftists did not. My views about the role and the character of the Turkish state never changed: I think it is a machine of destruction and it has to be abolished.

And honestly, I don't even believe that there is such a thing as "Turkishness".

The concept of "Turkish nation" was historically invented by the Turkic intellectuals who were originally from Russia. These mostly Tatar bourgeois intellectuals escaped from the reaction following the defeat of the 1905 revolution, and started to advocate the case for a pan-Turkic unity led by the Ottomans. Before that the Ottoman elites despised the "Turks". They considered them barbaric/nomadic mountain people living in southern Anatolia.

Gradually, as the Ottomans started to lose their territories Balkan&Caucasian muslims flocked to Anatolia. At this point the idea of finding a Turkish nation started to look more plausible for the young generation of patriotic and western educated ottoman civil servantsl&military officers. These mostly came from poorer families and they were frustrated with the traditional ottoman state system. They felt the more traditional elites were blocking their path. They believed their merit was not recognized because the islamist/feudal ottoman state was fossilized.

The conflict between the secular/educated bureaucrats and the conservative/feudals was resolved during the WWI, when they both took part in the Armenian genocide. This crime created the basis for reconciliation and the feudal anatolian&Kurdish elites consented, grudgingly, to the secular lower ranking officers' dream of establishing an ethnic national state. The pillaged Armenian properties created the basis for the creation of a new "Turkish" national bourgeoisie.

From 1950s on, the only function of the new state was to be a bastion of the NATO in the ME and provide cheap soldiers and cheap laborers for capitalist accumulation. Today the basis of the historic compromise between the secular bureaucracy and the conservative (Kurd or non-Kurd) elites has been totally dissolved. That's why the Turkish state is becoming more and more violent. the bourgeoisie in Turkey doesn't have any unity of interests and ideology anymore. Only force keeps it together.

*If this is the case shouldn't I support the PKK? Doesn't it speed up the process of dissolution of the Turkish state?

No. War is only extending the already expired lifespan of this dying beast. Kurdish nationalism may be dividing the ruling elite in Turkey but it is also consolidating the stronger, western Turkish bourgeoisie, disciplines it, and gives an excuse to suppress workers.

*Doesn't the PKK defend the Kurdish workers?

No. majority of the Kurdish workers live and work in western Turkey. PKK is not concerned about those Kurds fate and it doesn't have any military presence in the west. It only use them as recruiting material and the increasing nationalist hatred nominally works to its benefit.

* What about the Rojava "experiment"?

Human life is not a material to be wasted in experiments. The old empiricist delusion denying the existence of causality may be a foundational myth of the English ruling class. But trying the same thing over and over and expecting different results is a luxury that the working class cannot afford. Nationalism whether in a single state or in a single canton is a dead end for us. PKK is an extremely centralized and authoritarian party structure that is shaped by a national war. It will not cease to be a nationalist party just because Ocalan reads Boochin and Foucault now.

Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic or Farsi, all the workers of the ME deserve to live in peace, together, without borders and in a single universal commune. The Kurdish working class is extremely combative and courageous and I believe they will be in the vanguard of the struggle to build this communist future. And since I consider myself as a part of the world working class, in the spirit of solidarity, I will always criticize all the nationalist enemies of Kurdish, Turkish, Arabic or any other worker. I am sorry that this was a long post, but I felt that I had to write this in order to defend and explain myself.

Alf

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Alf on July 8, 2017

The accusation against Mikhail - of being a Turkish nationalist because of his opposition to Kurdish nationalism - reminds me of the accusations against those who maintained an internationalist position during World War Two, which included a rejection of the "Resistance" fronts. Comrades of the French Fraction of the Communist Left in Marseille were arrested, and narrowly escaped being shot, by the Stalinist "maquis", who accused them of being Nazi agents. The evidence offered was that the comrades had been found with leaflets in the German language (which called for fraternisation between German and French workers and soldiers). Internationalism is incomprehensible to those sunk in nationalism.
In any case, Mikhail has ably refuted the charges.

jef costello

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by jef costello on July 8, 2017

It is pretty ridiculous to call Mikhail a turkish nationalist, he may be many things but that is obviously the case. Criticising the PKK doesn't mean he supports the Turkish government and that is ridiculus thinking that we should be above, we are supposed to be critical of all sides because we are anarchists and communists and they are not.

It is pretty obvious that the Rojava 'revolution' was set up with open support from the Syrian regime, and that various powers seek to exploit it. The lack of information is problematic and to be honest the aggressive, 'if you're not with us you're against us' attitude of its defenders is pointless.

We cannot win a war. If we as communists were in that position then we would basically be in the position where there would be no war. (Obviously air power and drones are ways of circumventing that old truth but it still holds.) This means we win by persuasion and convincing people and when I see debate-team tactics used to shut people down it concerns me because that is not how we win.

I am pretty sceptical of the project because even its supporters seem to admit it is based on a rather small and not necessarily unified cadre which aside from the internal problems that can arise is also extremely vulnerable to outside interference. The defence of the project seems to contain more 'shut up, what are you doing?" and "we have to do something" than anything else. I think I have a relatively negative viewpoint of what it is and will be, but that doesn't make me an enemy of the project and certainly not of any anarchist ideals behind it. I think it is worth remembering that we are on the same side regardless of whether we support Rojava or not and calling someone an idiot-martyr isn't a good thing but it doesn't make someone into a class enemy any more than being an idiot martyr does (obviously this doesn't count if they YPD is used as the international brigades were)

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 10, 2017

... what? Rafi? ... HERE!

- Yes, hello, who is it?
- Can we come up for a short talk, Master Rafi?
- Who is we?
- We the marxists: Peter and Little Red Riding Hood and the wolves, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the turkish fox with his five ducklings.
- Did you make your homework?
(offstage: all marxists: whispering: shit, we forgot to make our homework)
- No, Master Rafi, we did not do our homework.
- So go, make your homework and come back next week. You know my consultation hours.
(offstage: Rafi is LHAO)

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 10, 2017

- Yes, hello, who is it?
- Can we come up for a short talk, Master Rafi?
- Who is we?
- We the marxists: Peter and Little Red Riding Hood and the wolves, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the turkish fox with his five ducklings.
- Did you make your homework?
(offstage: all marxists: whispering: shit, we forgot to make our homework)
- No, Master Rafi, we did not do our homework.
- So go, make your homework and come back next week. You know my consultation hours.
(offstage: Rafi is LHAO)

Posted in r/edgelords

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 10, 2017

Buuuuaaaahhhhh what a fucking waste of time to read your shitty lies and to talk with you, marxists!

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 10, 2017

Same question as before: what lies?

bootsy

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on July 11, 2017

While I admit I tend to be a 'Rojava Spectic' what this entire debate seems to be fundamentally lacking, on both sides, is any investigation into and analysis of the composition, organisation, struggles etc. of the Kurdish working class in the region, or a clear headed analysis of the class composition of Rojavan society. I don't think I could name a single union in Rojava, and that after reading many pro, anti and everything in between articles on the subject, all written by Anarchists, Socialists, Communists, Bookchinists and whoever else. Surely even the most starry eyed PYD/PKK supporter wouldn't go so far as to claim that class relationships have been abolished in Rojava. So what is the nature of these relations? What autonomous class forces (not the PYD, the Tev-Dem or any other bureaucratic pseudo-State policy) exist and how are they waging a struggle to abolish class relations. What are the major unions, what are their relationship to the State (such as it is), to the war effort, the 'revolution' and so forth. What material gains have been made for workers in the region and how can they practically be supported. Have the Kurdish workers attempted to advance their revolution beyond the borders of the the State, for example to Iraqi Kurdistan where memories of the 'Shuras' and the uprising against Saddam in 1991 may still be fresh.

If and where sections of the working class have made real, material gains in Rojava and other PYD controlled parts of Syria then of course those gains should be supported and defended if necessary. Just like how we ought to defend the welfare state in my own country (Aotearoa/New Zealand) but that doesn't mean supporting the Labour Party or the government. Pretty much all the information on this 'Rojavan Revolution' focuses on military victories, Bookchin and the ideology of Öcalan, Communist critiques of nationalism and democracy, PYD/YPG/YPJ/PKK proclamations and propaganda, internationalist volunteers in the armed struggle, all of which can contain kernels of truth, but its still pretty much all ideology. Then both sides accuse the other of being 'ideological'...

A first step toward Andrew's suggestion of a new "Towards a Fresh Revolution" written for a Rojavan context would be a clear analysis of the class forces in Rojava and seems to be the only possible resolution to the current impasse of pro and anti positions. I know for me personally I would enthusiastically support genuinely autonomous working class struggle in Kurdistan, some like the Shura Revolution which sprung during the anti-Saddam revolt, many sceptics like myself would almost certainly feel the same. But I can't justify materially supporting an organisation with such a sordid history as the PKK/PYD and who are currently fighting a brutal civil war in which all the major imperialist power are attempting to pull the strings. Until there's some clear information shared about concerning proletarian self-activity in Rojava this discussion will inevitability remain buried in ideology and confusion. Thats just my 2 cents...

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 11, 2017

David Graeber: Syria, Anarchism and visiting Rojava (05/07/2017)

http://kurdishquestion.com/article/3959-david-graeber-syria-anarchism-and-visiting-rojava

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yj8Kww3hCus

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 11, 2017

Kurdish Question

Search Results : Anarchism:

http://kurdishquestion.com/search/keyword/anarchism

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 11, 2017

Resources on the Rojava revolution in West Kurdistan (Syria) (07/29/2015)

http://anarchism.pageabode.com/andrewnflood/resources-rojava-revolution-kurdistan-syria

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 11, 2017

An Anarchist Perspective on Rojava’s Coops and Communes (28/09/2016)

https://cooperativeeconomy.info/an-anarchist-perspective-on-rojavas-coops-and-communes/

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 11, 2017

But what lies?

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 11, 2017

Rojava on: www . opendemocracy . net

e.g.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/revolution-in-rojava ( here also: Witnessing the Rojava revolution by Rahila Gupta, 2016, 6 parts )

https://www.opendemocracy.net/north-africa-west-asia/ercan-ayboga/trip-to-liberated-minbic-in-northern-syria-from-hell-to-paradise

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 11, 2017

S. Artesian, its one big lie. Wake up! and read! and study!

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 11, 2017

I posted what I posted so that people do not fall for that SHIT! Mission completed. I also dont talk with marxists.

Fleur

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on July 11, 2017

So, repeating a question I posed in a different thread, is it just me or is there more than the usual sectarian bullshit flying around at the moment?

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 11, 2017

There is only the usual sectarian marxist bullshit flying around at the moment. Don't ask questions lol!

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 19, 2017

Ahhh, wait! There are AndrewF and Flint. They are the only credible persons here.

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

Fleur

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Fleur on July 11, 2017

I was commenting on "I don't talk to Marxists."

S. Artesian

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on July 14, 2017

Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 12, 2017

The Moscow Gold (Spanish: Oro de Moscú), or alternatively Gold of the Republic (Spanish: Oro de la República), was 510 tonnes of gold, corresponding to 72.6% of the total gold reserves of the Bank of Spain, that were transferred from their original location in Madrid to the Soviet Union a few months after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. This transfer was made by order of the government of the Second Spanish Republic, presided over by Francisco Largo Caballero, through the initiative of his Minister of Finance, Juan Negrín. The term also encompasses the subsequent issues relating with the gold's sale to the USSR and the use of the funds obtained. The remaining fourth of the Bank's gold reserves, 193 tonnes, was transported and exchanged into currency in France, an operation which is also known by analogy as the "Paris Gold" ...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moscow_gold

noslavery

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by noslavery on July 13, 2017

This is a tricky article. It is true that Rojava will not have a communist anarchist future, but not because Lenin said so. If Lenin was right, his party-state wouldn't become bosses of the workers and a reactionary one. It is true that we have exploitation of labor (thanks to Marx for formulating its mechanism for us) in that region, but it doesn't mean that a Marxists state capitalism of Lenin or Trotsky kind can remove it. Establishing an anarchist communist order in Rojava and Kurdistan won't happen, because, at this moment, wage slaves of the world have ideology of their bosses. We are not there yet, it is too far, it takes time and work, nothing is free. Be open minded, work hard, you will have anarchist communist order.

bootsy

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on July 13, 2017

rafi if those links are for me then I've already read most of that stuff so its not really what I mean. Something along the lines of Aufheben's excellent analysis of the history of the Palestinian and Israeli proletariat, the social struggles in the region and how these relate and respond to the various imperialist rivalries within which they are currently trapped. In most the pro-Anarchist responses there's primarily just information on the bureaucratic structure of the Tev-Dem, 'Communes', councils, etc. that's all great but democratic organisations don't make a revolution and the ability to vote on things doesn't necessarily indicate any net material gain for the working class which ought to be defended. Sometimes the extension of democratic institutions is a symptom of defeat and not a product of autonomous class power.

We have regional councils in this country, however unlike the German, Russian or Hungarian councils/soviets they're most definitely not organs of working class counter power. So excuse me for being skeptical, however with all due respect to those who have decided to join the armed struggle in Syria, I like my pale white arse when it hasn't been shot to shreds and its gonna take some considerable chance of revolutionary change for me to want to risk my arse or encourage anyone else to risk there's. Because this is the nefarious side of those cheerleading the Rojavan Revolution, who encourage others to go pick up guns and shoot brown people, proletarians at the end of the day. Those who are gullible or at some crisis point in their life and need a reason to do something they feel to be meaningful (which seems to be the motivation of those who have joined the fight, not an honest analysis of what is going on in Rojava) will probably listen to them, go pick up a gun and either get killed or kill other people and have to live with that on their conscience for the rest of their life, all the while collaborating with an imperialist bombing campaign which has almost certainly killed more civilians than ISIS (the existential threat being used to justify supporting the PYD works both ways). Lets be honest too, those currently risking their lives for the sake of the Rojavan Revolution have a strong incentive to play up the revolutionary aspects of what is going on their in order to justify their activity and allow them to psychologically manage the extreme stress and hardship of war.

The final thing I want to say is that Andrew's post is really dishonest and shitty. In one foul swoop he dismisses the entire articles as 'smears and lies', provides almost no evidence besides pointing out Spanish Anarchists took guns from imperialist powers - which if anything actually strengthens the point being made in the article because the USSR's control of the weapons and military aid clearly allowed them to destroy the social revolution before the fascists even took a step inside Barcelona - and then conveniently he claims that a point by point rebuttal is beneath him & not worth his time... So all I can really do is repeat Artesian and ask 'where are the lies'?

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 14, 2017

You know what? All what you claimed here - if you have the courage - ask them directly and personally:

https://www.ypgrojava.org/

I'm sure they will answer you!

Devrim

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Devrim on July 14, 2017

rafi dawn

You know what? All what you claimed here - if you have the courage - ask them directly and personally:

https://www.ypgrojava.org/

I'm sure they will answer you!

It doesn't talk about the situation of the working class either. It's a war propaganda site. I've talked to many people in the Kurdish nationalist movement about the situation of the working class, and it's not something that they are really interested in.

Devrim

Serge Forward

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on July 14, 2017

rafi dawn

You know what? All what you claimed here - if you have the courage - ask them directly and personally:

https://www.ypgrojava.org/

I'm sure they will answer you!

Yes but you are the one who specifically said it's all lies. So again, where are the lies?

Red Marriott

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Red Marriott on July 14, 2017

Serge

you are the one who specifically said it's all lies.

So it seems to be rafi who's the liar and can't prove anything. Flint & others just try to smear any criticism as 'lies, uninformed, disinformation, sock puppet, armchair critics' etc. For all the accusations thrown about here by Flint & rafi they've provided no evidence for their claims - and this isn't unusual. Which suggests that if their beliefs have to be shored up by such dishonesty then - in an attempt to suppress doubt - they're not so sure about them.

Sike

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Sike on July 14, 2017

I want to clarify that by recommending that Libcom readers read the MLKP interview that I linked to in a post that I made several days earlier that this should not be taken as an endorsement by me of either the MLKP or the Rojava 'revolution'. My primary reason for recommend the article is because I think that it provides a perspective not often encountered in other of the accounts of the Rojava 'revolution' by western socialist and anarchists participants. English language accounts from armed participants from Turkey are also more difficult to come by then accounts by armed participants from the west. Based upon insights garnered from the interview I think that it is clear that what is happening in Rojava, and in Turkey, with the PKK and the MLKP is not an genuine expression of working-class autonomy but is a war of national-liberation ("people's war") carried out under the oversight of strategically placed PKK operatives, as well as MLKP cadre; under a mandate passed down from the hierarchy of these two political organizations.

bootsy

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on July 14, 2017

Thanks rafi, however I confess I am not a courageous individual, not like you. So would you mind asking them for me? While you're at it, could you please ask Hizbullah about the class struggle in Lebanon? I expect their response will be similarly lucid and free of war time propaganda.

God speed, comrade rafi...

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 16, 2017

Hey, S. Artesian

Whats that:

"Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted racists."

Is it a spelling error? Do you wanted to say: Removed in protest of Libcom's policy allowing texts by admitted marxists? lol!

Do you have a link?

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 16, 2017

Hey, bootsy

Yes, thats a problem. The thing is: Marxists etc, authoritarians, are - per definitionem - not courageous. We can call that also: The fear of freedom.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 16, 2017

Hey, S. Artesian

I see:

S. Artesian
Jul 13 2017 00:45 (new)
Me? I'd like to know why works by Schmidt are still available on the Libcom site
( https://libcom.org/forums/news/anarkismo-down-13072017 )

But don't you think that your protest is a bit childish and too emotional?! Deleting all your comments here .... buuuaahhhh

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 16, 2017

The deeper we trace the political influences in history, the more are we convinced that the "will to power" has up to now been one of the strongest motives in the development of human social forms. The idea that all political and social events are but the result of given economic conditions and can be explained by them cannot endure careful consideration. That economic conditions and the special forms of social production have played a part in the evolution of humanity everyone knows who has been seriously trying to reach the foundations of social phenomena. This fact was well known before Marx set out to explain it in his manner. A whole line of eminent French socialists like Saint-Simon, Considerant, Louis Blanc, Proudhon and many others had pointed to it in their writings, and it is known that Marx reached socialism by the study of these very writings. Furthermore, the recognition of the influence and significance of economic conditions on the structure of social life lies in the very nature of socialism.

It is not the confirmation of this historical and philosophical concept which is most striking in the Marxist formula, but the positive form in which the concept is expressed and the kind of thinking on which Marx based it. One sees distinctly the influence of Hegel, whose disciple Marx had been. None but the "philosopher of the Absolute," the inventor of "historical necessities" and "historic missions" could have imparted to him such self-assurance of judgment. Only Hegel could have inspired in him the belief that he had reached the foundation of the "laws of social physics", according to which every social phenomenon must be regarded as a deterministic manifestation of the naturally necessary course of events. In fact, Marx's successors have compared "economic materialism" with the discoveries of Copernicus and Kepler, and no less a person than Engels himself made the assertion that, with this interpretation of history, socialism had become a science.

It is the fundamental error of this theory that it puts the causes of social phenomena on a par with the causes of mechanistic events in nature. Science concerns itself exclusively with the phenomena which are displayed in the great frame which we call Nature, which are consequently limited by space and time and amenable to the calculations of human thought. For the realm of nature is a world of inner connections and mechanical necessities where every event occurs according to the laws of cause and effect. In this world there is no accident. Any arbitrary act is unthinkable. For this reason science deals only with strict facts; any single fact which runs contrary to previous experiments and does not harmonise with the theory can overthrow the most keenly reasoned doctrine.

In the world of metaphysical thought the practical statement that the exception proves the rule may have validity, but in science never. Although the forms nature produces are of infinite variety, every one of them is subject to the same unalterable laws. Every movement in the cosmos occurs according to strict, inexorable rules, just as does the physical existence of every creature on earth. The laws of our physical existence are not subject to the whims of human will. They are an integral part of our being and our existence would be unthinkable without them. We are born, absorb nourishment, discard the waste material, move, procreate and approach dissolution without being able to change any part of the process. Necessities eventuate here which transcend our will. Man can make the forces of nature subservient to his ends, to a certain extent he can guide their operation into definite courses, but he cannot stop them. It is just as impossible to sidetrack the separate events which condition our physical existence. We can refine the external accompanying phenomena and frequently adjust them to our will, but the events themselves we cannot exclude from our lives. We are not compelled to consume our food in the shape which nature offers it to us or to lie down to rest in the first convenient place, but we cannot keep from eating or sleeping, lest our physical existence should come to a sudden end. In this world of inexorable necessities there is no room for human determination.

It was this very manifestation of an iron law in the eternal course of cosmic and physical events which gave many a keen brain the idea that the events of human social life were subject to the same iron necessity and could consequently be calculated and explained by scientific methods. Most historical theories have root in this erroneous concept, which could find a place in man's mind only because he put the laws of physical being on a par with the aims and ends of men, which can only be regarded as results of their thinking.

...

The Insufficiency of Economic Materialism

https://libcom.org/library/nationalism-culture-rudolf-rocker

Spikymike

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Spikymike on July 16, 2017

I think rafi has gone off at a tangent with this old broadside against a particular version of Marxism best known to anarchists as 'economic materialism' but unrecognisable by many others influenced by other versions (perhaps more critical of Engels past popularising efforts) and explored extensively on other previous threads on this site.

Khawaga

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Khawaga on July 16, 2017

Yeah, though Rafi got one thing right. Artesian is acting like a child.

bootsy

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on July 17, 2017

rafi dawn

Hey, bootsy

Yes, thats a problem. The thing is: Marxists etc, authoritarians, are - per definitionem - not courageous. We can call that also: The fear of freedom.

One thing I've slowly figured out about people over the years is that anyone who has a legit back bone to them will pretty much never go around flouncing that shit like they need half the world to know it. The people you see fronting that front are invariably just 'paper tigers'. This is probably all irrelevant though, except in relation to all those leftists who love to cheer on war and bloodshed from a comfortable distance, amongst which I happily group most Rojava supporters.

In other news this thread isn't about S. Artesian or the manner in which he raised a totally legit complaint. So if you all want him to stop trying to be the centre of attention then stop giving him attention. Sheesh...

So then, thinking about 'Towards a Fresh Revolution' in Rojava its worth pointing out that the Republican government in Spain did not unleash the social revolution in Catalonia and similarly a social revolution in Rojava will never be unleashed by the Tev Dem (or any associated bureaucracy). Andrew points out that what has been left unsaid by Rojava skeptics is any suggestion for immediate activity on the part of Kurdish or Syrian proletarians and that the only possible choice left open to them if they're not going to pick up a weapon is to become a refugee. I agree with him there and the reality is if I were in their shoes that is the choice I would make and the choice I would encourage others to make. Its a shit decision to have to make however the context in which people are being forced to make it is the civil war. So long as that war continues some people will pick up guns, some will stay and try their luck and some people will get on boats, thats the nature of war, which means that those who deepen the war invariably force that choice upon anyone who remains.

A strategy based upon fleeing isn't heroic and it isn't close to being revolutionary, but by its nature it thrusts upon us the necessity of an internationalist perspective and opposition to capitalist wars and borders and leaves us with nothing to start with except the working class self activity that already exists. Joining the armed struggle achieves the opposite to all of that.

My broad outline for a Fresh Revolution in Rojava and in Syria would look something like this - those in immediate existential peril flee the danger to where they feel safe and radical proles defend all mass human migration from the intervention of the State while at the same time screwing our heads back on and opposing the Western and Russian imperialists throwing gasoline on the fire thats already raging rather than making things even worse by backing their allies and thus refusing to disavow the slaughter. Any gains worth defending be defended by any enclaves of proletarian self activity that still exist and those wishing practice real solidarity with the struggle - financially or militarily - make the effort to distinguish between class forces, that applies to Syrian and Kurdish insurgents as well as those outside the region. Its not as sexy as photo ops with Kalashnikovs and there's a great possibility that there's no enclaves of working class self-activity left after years of civil war which leaves no option other than to flee. But at least more people will live to fight another day and those of us hoping for revolution don't feel obliged to make compromises with our enemies, which I for one would struggle to swallow under the best of circumstances never mind what we have now.

Pretty much all of that stuff is as far removed from my own situation as possible except for one big thing; opposing the imperialist intervention against ISIS which is invariably making things much worse. With that in mind I begin to start doing that myself and if pro-Rojava radicals have a problem with something so simple then I would encourage them to seriously reassess what they're doing and what they've been thinking.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 19, 2017

Rojava: An Experiment in Radical Direct Democracy Within a War-Torn Country

More links:

https://ecology.iww.org/search/node/kurdistan

https://ecology.iww.org/search/node/rojava

http://therealnews.com/t2/story:17778:Rojava%3A-An-Experiment-in-Radical-Direct-Democracy-Within-a-War-Torn-Country

Serge Forward

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on July 19, 2017

Where are the lies, rafi?

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 19, 2017

Serge, please ... I'm here to give my comrades good stuff to read.

Question to you: Why do you believe their lies? Why do you believe what they write? Why do you think it's true what they write? Why don't you start making your own research?

Serge Forward

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on July 19, 2017

What lies? Please point them out, rafi. As it's you who is accusing people of telling lies, then the onus is on you to point out anything you think is a lie and then actually refute it*. It's not down to the rest of us to guess what you think is a lie and... er... say why it's not. So again, where are the lies?

* And by "refute it" I don't mean you just saying "it's all lies" but instead, actually explaining why you think the author is being dishonest or untruthful.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 21, 2017

Turkey waiting … and waiting … to intervene in Afrin

http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2017/07/turkey-syria-kurds-still-in-gun-range-afrin-operation.html

Türkei will offenbar Kurdengebiet besetzen

http://www.tagesspiegel.de/politik/kampf-um-afrin-in-syrien-tuerkei-will-offenbar-kurdengebiet-besetzen/20088174.html

Serge Forward

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on July 21, 2017

So rafi, as you are incapable of refuting the article, we can only conclude it's not "all lies" and you were merely talking out your wheeto.

rafi dawn

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on July 23, 2017

As you wish, Serge!
________

Co-operative Economy in Rojava

https://cooperativeeconomy.info

Co-ops in Rojava

https://cooperativeeconomy.info/co-ops/rojava-bakur/rojava/

July 19th Revolution: a Start Toward a Federal, Democratic Syria

https://cooperativeeconomy.info/july-19th-revolution-a-start-toward-a-federal-democratic-syria/

bootsy

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by bootsy on July 24, 2017

rafi dawn

Serge, please ... I'm here to give my comrades good stuff to read.

Question to you: Why do you believe their lies? Why do you believe what they write? Why do you think it's true what they write? Why don't you start making your own research?

More like you're here to talk shit and spam us with links...

Why don't you pull up a quote from the article which you consider to be a lie and then pull up a quote from one of your many articles which contains evidence that proves your allegation. If you can't manage that then the fact is you can't manage much at all...

Serge Forward

6 years 7 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on July 24, 2017

Aye. Just chucking more links at us is no kind of refutation.

rafi dawn

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on March 16, 2018

.

.

Serge Forward

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Serge Forward on March 11, 2018

Ouch. That's us proper twatted then. I do like a bit of fighting talk though.

R Totale

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on March 11, 2018

rafi dawn

i forgot to say...

:D I love the fact that someone dug up a thread that had no new posts in six months to add this. Just suddenly being like "shit, there was something I'd forgotten to say last summer, better go back and add it now, it's very important for everyone to see this."

rafi dawn

5 years 11 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by rafi dawn on March 16, 2018

go to hell, marxists, leninists, stalinists, maoists, trotzkists etc, you bloody motherfvckers ... you scumbags, you pussys, you fvcking cunts you dicks, you pieces of shit ... piss off, FVCK OFF !

heval

5 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by heval on August 7, 2018

Whoever wrote this has never spent time in Rojava among those involved in the movement. If they have then it is very suspicious. It's suspicious anyway.

This seems like more than the usual western leftist/left-liberal disavowal of the revolution on account of its imperfections and it's failure to live up to the utopian, idealistic fantasies of the perfect revolutionary political movement or event of righteous purity; principle without pragmatism in manifesting principle through praxis, and a poor or even false understanding of the complexity of political struggle, geo-politics and decision-making that unfold unpredictably in the middle-east.

The 'radical' political culture of western urban society have a discourse that is infected by a liberal, idealist mode of thinking. The content the 'radical left' in this regard is often a form of radical liberalism.

But again, I have my doubts that the article above is genuine in its intentions. I have insufficient reason to believe it was written by a real supporter or associate of a genuine revolutionary movement against capital, the state and patriarchy etc.

Nymphalis Antiopa

5 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Nymphalis Antiopa on August 8, 2018

heval :

Whoever wrote this has never spent time in Rojava among those involved in the movement.

You dont have to go somewhere to have a critique of what’s happening there. Any more than one had to be in Kronstadt in 1921 to know that Trotsky was a piece of shit. Any more than you had to go to China when Mao was alive to know it was a sick joke to believe that Red China had anything to do with the project of the self-emancipation of the working class. In fact, just as people in the past used to have guided tours of Cuba or East European bureaucratic states where visitors-cum-naive-admirers spoke only to those their guides deemed correct, it is unlikely that most of the people who have visited Rojava have got any idea of what those who are not utterly enthusiastic participants in the PKK project think – probably the vast majority of these visitors don’t speak the language and so are mediated by those who speak English (or whatever), hand-picked for their unquestioning loyalty to Ocalan etc.

However, the text is limited (though heval doesn't seriously take apart what the text says, except to talk of its apparently "idealist mode of thinking" , as if its simply purism to critique the fantasy of Rojava's process towards destroying dominant social relations, a process that is, for heval, compatible with the cult of the personality and statist political hierarchical organisation).
For a more interesting take on Syria and Rojava, see this: http://dialectical-delinquents.com/on-rojava-and-the-kurdish-proto-state/ -

while their Kurdish “compatriots” were fighting against the regime’s soldiers and shabiha i alongside the Arabs and others, Kurdish political parties, including the PYD, were silent. Almost every one of them had an armed militia, and in the case of the PYD, well-trained, but even as the movement began to show the first signs of militarization, they did not engage in the fight.

and

On June 27, 2013, for example, there was an anti-PYD demonstration in Amuda, a predominantly Kurdish city with a sizeable Arab population. A military convoy was stoned by protesters, to which YPG forces responded with live ammunition, killing three people. The night after, about 50 supporters of the opposition Yekiti party ii were detained and beaten up at a YPG base.

R Totale

5 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by R Totale on August 8, 2018

As it happens, I just got around to reading that the other day, I really liked the conclusion:

"What is called anti-imperialist ideology is a stupidly simplistic, binary and campist representation of the world. It’s a blanket term to avoid contradiction – the reason it only works from afar. The example of Syria seems to me very telling: while the Rojavists are accepted as the new Enlightenment of the Middle East, the rest of the Syrian revolutionaries are left to die in almost total incomprehensibility. “It’s civil war” or “it’s a sectarian conflict” are just ways to cover up dead bodies, including rebels and revolutionaries. The bitter truth is that the situation in Rojava cannot be distinguished in its intelligibility from the rest of Syria. The difference is that the Rojava is more easily adapted to ready-to-think anti-imperialism, thanks to the federalist politicians of the PYD who learned their aesthetic lessons from Rage Against the Machine and their seductive manipulations from the anti-imperialists of yesteryear. The bitter truth is that the social situation in Rojava is as complex as in the rest of the world. Which also means that we will have to do our research, analyze the situation, make contacts and talk to people if we want to fight against this world by their side. At least that, rather than brandishing the portraits of a new anti-authoritarian authority."

Guessing the author/translator definitely doesn't want it reproduced here in full?

Mike Harman

5 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Mike Harman on August 12, 2018

This sounds very bad.

http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/e6192e00-276e-4375-9a34-da5d3597397d

darren p

5 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by darren p on August 14, 2018

Mike Harman

This sounds very bad.

http://www.kurdistan24.net/en/news/e6192e00-276e-4375-9a34-da5d3597397d

Yes, but is it really a surprise?

Steven.

5 years 6 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Steven. on August 14, 2018

heval

Whoever wrote this has never spent time in Rojava among those involved in the movement. If they have then it is very suspicious. It's suspicious anyway. … But again, I have my doubts that the article above is genuine in its intentions. I have insufficient reason to believe it was written by a real supporter or associate of a genuine revolutionary movement against capital, the state and patriarchy etc.

You may disagree with this article, but your attempt to paint the authors as not being genuine revolutionaries is absolutely preposterous. Many of us here have known the dedicated comrades from MC and KPK for many years, at least a decade. Which is more than we can say for you, person who registered on this site a week ago…